Man fell overboard on Royal Caribbean ship while a woman died on the same cruise

Originally published at: Man fell overboard on Royal Caribbean ship while a woman died on the same cruise | Boing Boing


Um. That many people in the same place for a couple weeks, it probably happens more than the cruise companies want to talk about, even just from natural causes.


…and this is why I will never sign up for a cruise.


The fact that the long-running soap opera comic strip Rex Morgan M.D. just had a character fall overboard on a cruise ship, following at least one other case that I know of, several years ago in another long-running soap opera comic strip, Mary Worth, seems less like a coincidence and just a matter of this happening pretty regularly.


People who are shocked or surprised about these stats have obviously never taken a cruise before.


One-third of passengers are 60+ in age.

Here is the breakdown of cruisers by age:

  • 12 and under – 9%
  • 13 to 19 – 6%
  • 20 to 29 – 9%
  • 30 to 39 – 11%
  • 40 to 49 – 15%
  • 50 to 59 – 18%
  • 60 to 69 – 19%
  • 70 and over – 14%

World cruises have the oldest passengers, with an average age of 62.


Plug that into actuarial tables, and get a ballpark for people just dropping dead.


Also true of large conferences, sporting events, parades, and anywhere else that huge numbers of people congregate. Even without the unique health pressures of cruises, statistically a few people are gonna die any time you get enough of them together. Dying is a pretty key thing we do periodically.

On another note, “Ovation of the Seas” sounds like a gag name offered up by a procedural Cruise Ship Name Generator.


Isn’t there some kind of technology employed by cruise lines to alert the second someone falls off?

I’m actually asking.

It seems in concept anyway that it would be relatively simple, so much so as to be foolish that it would not exist.

But I’m frequently wrong, so…


Interesting question! Looks like it’s coming along, but not universal at this point. The first article that came up was fairly informative, so I’ll c/p some of it:

(Published Feb. 22, 2023. Updated March 21, 2023.)

What are cruise ship overboard detection systems?


The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires passenger vessels operating in the United States to “integrate technology that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent that such technology is available.”

Cruise lines were given an option because when the law was passed, there were no available products that could reliably detect passengers going overboard, according to Brian Salerno, senior vice president of global maritime policy at Cruise Lines International Association, the industry’s leading trade group.

“The problem was tuning the technology just right so that you wouldn’t be getting false alarms every time a seagull flew by the ship,” he said. “It’s just human nature, if you have alarms going off constantly, they become less and less important.”

In the years since, multiple companies have worked to develop more dependable technology, and CLIA and its member lines worked with the International Organization for Standardization to develop a standard for them.

The standard was finalized around the time the COVID-19 pandemic began, Salerno said, which delayed the process, but some ships have adopted the detection systems.

How do overboard detection systems work?


Technology company MARSS’ MOBtronic system is among those that developed the system for cruises.

The product, which uses thermal cameras and micro radars to detect when someone has gone overboard and can alert crew members, along with other features, is installed on “quite a few” vessels, including one cruise line’s entire fleet, according to CEO Johannes Pinl, though he could not name specific lines.

He said he expects the system to receive certification in accordance with the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standard within the first half of 2023.

Salerno said that certification will give cruise lines greater confidence in spending money on overboard detection technology. For its part, MOBtronic starts at around $200,000, Pinl said. Typically, between four and 12 sensor stations are mounted on the ship’s exterior, depending on its size and design.

“Overall, considering how much a cruise ship costs … these investments are minor,” he said.

How many cruise ships have overboard detection systems?


Salerno declined to name specific lines but said a number of ships have installed the detection technology. “I think we’ll start seeing more and more of the detection equipment once the certification process is complete,” he said.

He said he expects that at least one manufacturer will receive certification in accordance with the ISO standard this year.

  • Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line and MSC Cruises did not answer USA TODAY’s questions about whether or not they have the systems installed on their ships and referred inquiries to CLIA.
  • Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises did not respond to USA TODAY’s questions about whether or not they had installed the technology.
  • A spokesperson for Disney Cruise Line confirmed the technology is available on its ships, but was unable to share more details.

Posh Mexican Wave.


It makes a lot of sense that you’d need that on a ship that big. I’m guessing the crew is pretty skeleton on those ships to keep overhead low, so they don’t have the luxury of full watches. Plus you’d never hear splashes or yelling from the water on a ship that size. With so many people on board, you’d never know if someone was missing.


Reading all the comments here reminded me of a Columbo episode set on a cruise ship. It always seemed silly and contrived that, with the detective on board, there just happened to be a murder for him to investigate.

Now I realize it would be silly if there weren’t at least one death and that the only ridiculous part of the episode was Columbo taking off his raincoat for once.



Similar to how the sleepy small town that Jessica Fletcher lives in somehow has twenty murders a year. If I lived there, I’d move. :joy: Jessica is great and all, but uh…


Was it a Love Boat tie-in? That would have been amazing.

“Just one more thing. Isaac, do you usually add sweet vermouth to a shirley temple? No? Because it just so happens it does a great job masking the taste of strychnine”


I’ve often wondered why they don’t have nets along the decks like some bridges/hotels/evil and abusive factories.


That would have been brilliant but, alas, no. That episode did, however, have a magnificently coiffed Dean Stockwell.



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