It happens more often than you might think: A passenger falls overboard from a cruise ship and it takes several minutes, even hours for anyone to notice that he/she is gone. In most of these cases, the search for the missing person does not begin until long after they hit the water. It is not surprising, then, that most of these passengers are never recovered. The most infuriating part about it is that there is technology that could increase their chances of survival, but it is rarely utilized on U.S. ships.
As the center of the cruising world, about half of commercial cruise liners are stationed in Florida. Most explore the islands of the Caribbean with millions of satisfied guests each year. But going overboard does happen, and when it does it’s a veritable death sentence.
According to industry insiders, about 200 cruise ship passengers and crew members have been lost at sea since 2000. When there is someone watching the surveillance video at all times, it may be possible to double back and rescue the man (or woman) overboard in time. In most cases, however, the cruise lines do not hire operators to watch the cameras 24-7-365. As a result, they may be guilty of negligence and subject to a lawsuit.