Opinion

After Costa Concordia disaster: 8 safety tips for cruise ship passengers

The recent cruise ship disaster in Italy has prompted travel industry experts to advise the public about safety steps they can take, not only aboard ships but also in hotels. When the Costa Concordia ran aground off the shore of Tuscany on Jan. 13, roughly 160 yards from the shore of Giglio Island, many of the more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board the ship were reportedly unprepared for the crisis and the evacuation that followed.

Nancy Dunnan, publisher of TravelSmart Newsletter, urges cruise ship passengers to take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings. She suggests the following:

2. Find your life jacket

Cruise ships must conduct a safety drill giving instructions on the use of life jackets and where to gather in an emergency. On sailings that are longer than a week, the first drill will be held before the ship sails, with additional drills once a week thereafter. For cruises of one week or less, drills must be held within 24 hours after leaving port. 

Attend and pay attention to the location of your life jacket. TravelSmart recommends that parents have children try on a jacket so they will be familiar with them.

TIP: You may want to bring your own jackets and stash them in your cabin.

NOTE: Ships should post information in each cabin about how to recognize the ship’s emergency signals. They must also post information about the location of life preservers and how to use them and the lifeboat to which you are assigned. Families should review this information together and be sure they can identify each of these locations at the beginning of a cruise.

When leaving your cabin, each person in your group should take a piece of paper noting the location of life preservers and lifeboat assignments. On large ships, it’s very easy to forget these locations. Stash the details in your wallet, purse, tote, gym bag, or evening bag.

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