Can cruise ships sink? Important ship safety information (2023)

Cruise ships are designed to be as safe as possible, but they can still sink. However, several circumstances would have to concur for this to happen. For example, if there is a big storm and the captain of the ship is not sailing properly, she may have trouble staying afloat. Also, if the ship takes in too much water through holes or cracks in the hull, she will eventually capsize and sink. While this seems unlikely considering how well these ships are built and maintained, there are a few instances where cruise ships have sunk throughout history that serve as evidence that this can happen.

Some famous examples of cruise ship sinking are the Titanic and the Lusitania.

The sinking of these ships was the result of many different factors. The Titanic, for example, collided with an iceberg in 1912 and sank after taking in too much water through holes or cracks in its hull. One famous event that may not be as well known is the sinking of the RMS Lusitania off the coast of Ireland in World War I, when she was hit by two torpedoes fired by German submarines.

In addition to major accidents like this, there are always smaller incidents that don't make the headlines, for example. B. age-related leaks or even human errors!

An example of human error is what happened to the Costa Concordia, an Italian cruise ship that sank off the coast of Tuscany in 2012 after the captain refused to slow despite warnings that there was a risk of run aground.

Can cruise ships shipwreck?

Yes, cruise ships can capsize. In 2012, the Costa Concordia sank after her captain refused to slow down to avoid running aground.

(Video) Why Cruise Ships Don't Sink

Are you ready to book a cruise?

Although she did not turn completely with her keel in the air, as depicted in the movie Poseidon Adventure, the Costa Concordia was fortunate that the captain was able to pull her in close to shore to prevent the ship from capsizing completely.

However, cruisers are inherently heavy due to the height of the ship. Cruise ships are literally skyscrapers in the sea, sometimes with 14 or more decks stacked on top of each other.

To make up for this extra weight, cruise ships are equipped with ballast tanks so they can remain stable in the water. Large cruise ships have multiple ballast tanks that can be adjusted to maintain proper balance and passenger comfort in inclement weather.

Despite appearing unstable, cruisers can turn up to 60 degrees before risking capsizing and capsizing. They are also designed to withstand waves of up to 50 feet, and some, particularly those designed for voyages to the Arctic and Antarctic, have reinforced hulls to prevent breakage due to ice.

(Video) 4 Tips on How to Survive a Sinking Cruise Ship

While sailing boats have very deep keels, usually with a heavy weight on the end to keep them stable, cruising boats often have rounded bottoms with the boat usually no more than 30 feet below the bottom. waterline. For example, Norwegian Bliss has a draft of 28.5 feet, but with 20 decks the ratio above water is much greater than below the waterline.

Also, many of the heavier parts of the cruiser are designed below the waterline, such as the engines, fuel tanks, cargo, and of course the ballast tanks.

This contributes to the fact that although the ship may appear heavy due to the raised decks above the water, it is actually still far below. This keeps the boat at a comfortable level of stability for guests and safe to operate.

How many cruisers have sunk?

In 2013, The New York Times conducted a study and found that between 1980 and 2012, 16 cruise ships sank, most in inhospitable waters, embarked on adventure cruises such as visiting Antarctica, or smaller ships sunk in sudden storms such as the Estonia, which it sank in 1994 killing more than 800 people in the Baltic Sea.

Although cruise ships can capsize, this is highly unlikely.

As a first-time guest on a cruise ship, you may think you need to worry about sinking, but when you consider that cruise ships are constantly plying the ocean and carrying up to 30 million passengers in 2019, the 16 cruise ship disasters mentioned above, imagine a small possibility of tragedy on your next cruise.

Cruise ships are designed to withstand major storms and will withstand mostHurricane force winds and waves.

(Video) That's How Cruise Ships Can Stay Upright in Any Weather

What are some other cruise ship hazards that can turn into emergencies?

Other cruise ship hazards that can lead to emergencies include: running aground, plumbing, fire, and power outages.

All of this can cause your cruise ship to drift at sea (as well as run aground). However, barring other circumstances, such as storms or if the hull is damaged by hitting rocks, it generally does not pose a threat to the lives of most guests.

Rogue waves are one of the greatest dangers for cruise ships at sea

Most of the time, storms can be easily predicted thanks to the excellent weather forecasting technology we have access to today. However, there are occasional waves that can jeopardize a cruise.

These waves, sometimes reaching 100 feet, are extremely rare, and even if your ship experiences one, it's unlikely your cruise ship will capsize or sink.

With a well-trained cruise ship using modern technology available to all major cruise lines including Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Carnival, the bridge crew will be able to identify a breaking wave minutes or more before it hits. a problem. danger to the cruise.

You can detect these monster waves using high-resolution radar, or LIDAR, which can detect moving wave patterns around the ship.

(Video) Ship Safety Training Video - Saga Cruises

While that doesn't seem like a huge amount of notice, just a few minutes notice may be enough for the boat to hit the wave head-on instead of sideways.

No encounter with a rogue wave is going to be a pleasant experience, most cruisers will be able to survive an encounter if they are met head on first. Despite this, there will still be significant damage to parts of the ship, such as windows, furniture, and other loose objects that can be thrown in this case.

What you can do to protect yourself in a cruise ship emergency

To some extent, cruise passengers have a limited ability to protect themselves, as they may not even realize there is a problem until it is too late.

With that said, here are some things you can do to stay safe on a cruise in an emergency.

  1. Always have an emergency kit with you. This is valuable for treating cuts and bruises you may have and offering basic help to those around you. Don't bring a huge emergency kit, a basic emergency kit to keep in your backpack when you travel.
  2. If possible, stay away from the edge of a patio and stand as high up as possible in the open.
  3. Follow all instructions given by crew members or other security personnel on board in the event of a problem such as fire or flooding.
  4. Consider bringing water for emergencies like power outages that can occur during storms at sea, for example. Having extra bottles of water in your cabin can be much more convenient if something happens where your water or electrical system goes out.
  5. It's worth noting that cruise lines are generally well stocked and bottled water is available for passengers should this become a problem.
  6. Check your travel insurance coverage before booking your trip. While this won't help you during the emergency itself, knowing you won't have to pay for things like a flight home from an unexpected port, reimbursement for lost vacation days, or unexpected medical bills can make the emergency less overwhelming.

Captains are trained to avoid risk areas and cruise ships are designed not to sink even in a disaster at sea, but there is always the possibility of something going wrong. That's why it's important to sail with a cruise line that you can trust and that has hired the best officers and crew available to protect you in an emergency.

In summary, although the chance of a disaster on your cruise ship is small, it is important to be prepared for this possibility.

(Video) Cruise ship Safety drills for crew. Everything you need to know.

Author:james hills Released:July 06, 2021
cruise project,cruise technology Article Views:23052 visits


What happens if a cruise sinks? ›

The International Maritime Organization's guidelines require that all cruise ships be able to get passengers lowered into the ocean in lifeboats within 30 minutes of passengers being gathered on deck. When a large ship sinks it will probably tilt, making it difficult to make your way to the deck.

Is it possible for cruise ships to sink? ›

Yes, cruise ships can capsize. In 2012, the Costa Concordia capsized after its captain refused to reduce speed in order to avoid grounding.

What are the safety measures in cruise ship? ›

Cruise ship safety regulations

Enclosed lifeboats and rafts with full crew and passenger capacity (to accommodate all passengers and crew on board, plus spare capacity). Also mandatory are the emergency immersion suites (inflatable life jackets) for all passengers and crew.

What causes a cruise ship to sink? ›

Vessels can sink due to a few main reasons- wind and other forces forcing the ship to lean at dangerous angles to the port or starboard sides, waves on the deck adding weight to the vessel and forcing it lower into the water, or waves crashing into the side of the vessel and causing flooding.

Is cruising safer than flying? ›

When talking about statistics, airplane accidents average one in 1.6 million flights per year. Cruise ships, however, have a much fewer number of accidents per year. The reason for this is that: when you are in a plane accident, there is very little that you can do to survive.

How many people go missing in cruises? ›

Based on the reports that have been filed, we can estimate that around 200 people go missing from cruise ships each year. This shows that these cases are more frequent than most people realize.

How safe are modern cruise ships? ›

According to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), a typical cruise ship has more than 60 safety, environmental and health inspections each year. Safety regulations are rigorous – and ships often go substantially above and beyond what is required.

What is the biggest cruise ship to sink? ›

RMS Titanic

The sinking of the biggest passenger ship ever built at the time resulted in the death of more than 1,500 of the 2,208 people onboard. The accident occurred when the ship hit an iceberg while cruising at its maximum speed of 23k on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City.

Are cruise ships safe during a storm? ›

Today's modern cruise ships are built to withstand storms, avoid them, and even outrun them. Cruise companies follow the weather very carefully, changing itineraries, canceling sailings, and working hard to keep passengers and crew out of harm's way.

Why is ship safety important? ›

90% of food, fuel, raw materials and finished goods in the world are delivered by sea. For this reason, the safety of seafarers is a very important issue in the maritime industry. Let's take a look at Seafarers Safety in details. Shipping is one of the biggest and risky sectors of international trade in the world.

Where is the safest place on a cruise ship? ›

Lower Decks

This is because this part of the ship, its lowest and most central area, is the most stable during rough sea conditions.

How likely is a cruise ship to sink? ›

What are the odds of a cruise ship sinking? The odds of a cruise ship sinking are extremely low. Only four ocean cruise ships have sunk while on a cruise in the last 50 years. Assuming an average of 100 sailings per ship per year, and an average of 150 cruise ships in that time, that is odds of 1 in 187,500.

Can a wave flip a cruise ship? ›

Rogue waves can disable and sink even the largest ships and oil rigs. This NOAA research vessel, the DISCOVERER, endures punishing waves in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska.

Do cruise ships stop if you fall overboard? ›

As soon as an incident happens, cruise ship crew will activate a button that pinpoints the place where the person went into the water. The ship will then stop and turn back to that area. The ship and its crew will perform a lengthy search and rescue operation, lasting several hours.

Would a cruise ship survive a tsunami? ›

However, whether a cruise ship is in any danger largely depends on its location. Experts agree that a cruise ship sailing out over a body of water is not likely to feel any impacts from a tsunami's waves.

Are cruise ships safer than cars? ›

According to research compiled by the Daspit Law Firm, cruise ships have the lowest rate of deaths per billion passenger miles with 0.08. Compare that to 11.9 for rail travel, 3.3 for cars and trucks and 0.8 for commercial air, and traveling on the seas is a relatively safe venture.

Is there a jail on cruise ships? ›

If you wonder whether cruise ships have jails, the answer is yes. Jails are called brigs on a cruise ship and tend only to be used in serious circumstances when no other options are available. Cabin arrest is typically used before the brig is needed.

Is there a lot of crime on cruise ships? ›

In fact, following the release of the latest CVSSA statistics, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) commented that the report “shows that allegations of serious crime on board cruise ships remain extremely rare, especially compared to crimes that occur on land.”

Does human trafficking happen on cruise ships? ›

Human trafficking may also occur in cruising, and cruise ship crime is common. Ship workers, who are notoriously paid low wages, are even paid off by people who can withhold their pay or pay workers less than they expect to receive in order to force them to commit crimes.

What is the last cruise ship to sink? ›

Costa Concordia disaster
Aground with rigid lifeboats in foreground and inflatables hanging from the side of the ship
Date13 January 2012
TypeShip grounding
CauseStruck a rock while deviating from planned course
Participants4,252 (3,206 passengers; 1,023 crew and personnel)
8 more rows

Is it safe to cruise alone? ›

For the most part, yes. Cruises, overall, are extremely safe. However, even though cruising alone can be wonderful, it's key to remember that you should treat a solo cruise the same as if you were traveling alone anywhere else. Keep your wits about you--both onboard and onshore.

What ship sinks the fastest? ›

Lusitania sank in only 18 minutes, at a distance of 11.5 nautical miles (21 km) off the Old Head of Kinsale.

Has any cruise ship sunk in a storm? ›

In fact the last cruise ship that sank purely due to flooding in rough weather was the MTS Oceanos off South Africa's Wild Coast, back in 1990 – and she was an ocean liner-turned cruise ship.

Has a pirate ever attacked a cruise ship? ›

However, cruise ships have thorough procedures to protect themselves from pirates, particularly in areas known for high rates of attacks. There were only six reports of pirates attempting to attack cruise ships over the last 10 years. – in fact there has never been a successful pirate attack on a cruise ship.

Can cruise ships survive big waves? ›

Cruise ships are made of heavy steel, making them quite weighty. Add passengers and crew, and the ship is even heavier. With all this weight, the vessel can easily roll through rough waters or a rogue wave.

Does lightning strike cruise ships? ›

Absolutely. Tall ships did get struck by lightning quite often, but just because a ship is struck by lightning doesn't mean it will be completely destroyed.

What happens if it rains while on a cruise? ›

Unfortunately, cruise lines can't control the weather, and rain happens. You're entitled to pout, but what you're not entitled to is compensation for bad weather, so don't expect a refund for your sailing -- even a partial one.

What is the most important rule of boat safety? ›

One of the most important parts of boating safety is to know the rules and to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times, especially in crowded areas. Be alert at all times, and steer clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn.

Who is responsible for the safety of the ship? ›

Every ship appoints a ship safety officer to handle important safety issues related to the ship and the crew. The safety officer acts as the safety advisor on board ships and ensures that all requirements related to health and safety are met.

What is ship safety plan? ›

Ship Security Plan (SSP) is a plan that is formulated to ensure that that the measures laid out in the plan with respect to the security of the ship are applied onboard. This is in place to protect the personnel, cargo, cargo transport units, stores etc from any security-related risks.

What is the deadliest place on a ship? ›

Number one most dangerous place on the cruise ship are defiantly the watertight doors. These Doors are mounted on board a cruise vessel in the crew corridor. Many Crew members have lost their lives trying to pass this doors while they were closing from the bridge.

What is the best floor to stay on a cruise ship? ›

The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will feel. Even if you choose a balcony room, choose a low level and a room closest to the ship's center. The higher decks and cabins at the front (forward) or back (aft) of the ship will rock and roll the most.

Is it better to be on the left or right side of a cruise ship? ›

If you'd rather see the sunrise while sailing south or east, staying on the port side is your ideal choice as well. Choose the starboard side for the opposite situation: sunsets are visible on southbound and eastbound sailings while sunrises are visible on northbound and westbound cruises.

Do cruise ships leave people behind? ›

A cruise ship will leave passengers behind on shore if they arrive back at the ship too late. But ship staff have procedures in place to help you out.

How many ships sink every year? ›

Between 2011 and 2021, some 892 vessels were lost at sea. The majority of ships lost during this period—around 357—were cargo ships.
Number of ship losses worldwide between 2011 and 2021, by vessel type.
CharacteristicNumber of losses
Cargo ships357
Fishing vessels124
Passenger ships72
Bulk carriers64
9 more rows
6 days ago

How often do cruise ships crash? ›

There is an average of 200 deaths occurring on cruise ships each year. These numbers are not wholly accurate because numerous ships never disclose information about their accidents or never know that they occur at all.

Do cruise ships sunk before? ›

RMS Titanic: The original cruise ship disaster, the "unsinkable ship" struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage in 1912 and sank into the icy water, killing more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers and crew.

Can cruise ship lifeboats save everyone? ›

Most ships have extra lifeboats that exceed the ship's passenger capacity to accommodate for lifeboat malfunctions, etc. While ships are designed and regulated so that everybody is guaranteed a spot on a lifeboat should the need arise, there is no guarantee that this will always be achieved.

What part of a ship sinks first? ›

If the hull is breached and the ship begins to take on water, the lowest parts of the ship are generally filled first. This is also where much of a ship's vermin dwell.

What happens if a cruise ship hits a storm? ›

If a storm is threatening the area a ship was scheduled to sail to, cruise lines will reroute the ships if the forecast is severe enough. While cruise ships can typically "outrun" most storms, passengers may still experience rough seas as their ship skirts the edges of a storm.

What months should you not go on a cruise? ›

Storms in August and October have a moderate risk of developing into hurricanes while September has the highest risk of all. For these reasons, September is the worst month of the year to take a cruise.

Can a cruise ship cross the ocean? ›

Cruise ships do occasionally cross oceans, though, and often with passengers. But these repositioning cruises are a necessary inconvenience for cruise lines as ships move between different regions between the seasons.

How do you survive a sinking cruise ship? ›

If you learn your ship is sinking, follow the instructions of the captain and crew and stay as calm as possible. Water will enter the bottom of the ship first, so make your way to the deck. Then, find a lifejacket and a lifeboat. If there aren't lifeboats, find something that floats, like a reserver ring.

Where do ships sink the most? ›

Sable Island. The title "Graveyard of the Atlantic" is also applied to Sable Island, a narrow crescent of sand that lies 300 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. There have been over 350 recorded shipwrecks since the HMS Delight in 1583.

Can a cruise ship handle a tsunami? ›

Experts agree that a cruise ship sailing out over a body of water is not likely to feel any impacts from a tsunami's waves.

What happens if it rains on your cruise? ›

Sorry, but there is no refund on a cruise for rainy days. Even if it pours during your entire trip, if the cruise still happens then you won't be refunded any money. (Trips entirely cancelled due to storms may be entitled to a refund.)

Are cruise ships protected from pirates? ›

However, cruise ships have thorough procedures to protect themselves from pirates, particularly in areas known for high rates of attacks. There were only six reports of pirates attempting to attack cruise ships over the last 10 years. – in fact there has never been a successful pirate attack on a cruise ship.

How long can you survive in a sunken ship? ›

If the pressurized air pocket were about 216 cubic feet (6 cubic m), Umansky reckoned, it would contain enough oxygen to keep Okene alive for about two-and-a-half days, or 60 hours. But there is an additional danger: carbon dioxide (CO2), which is lethal to humans at concentrations of about 5 percent.

What ship sinking has the most deaths? ›

1. The Wilhelm Gustloff (1945): The deadliest shipwreck in history. On January 30, 1945, some 9,000 people perished aboard this German ocean liner after it was torpedoed by a Soviet submarine and sank in the frigid waters of the Baltic Sea.

Which ship sinking lost most lives? ›

The Gustloff slipped below the frigid Baltic waves just over an hour later. Although rescue efforts began within minutes of the ship's initial SOS call, only 1,200 people could be saved. The sinking claimed 9,000 lives, making it history's deadliest shipwreck.

What keeps cruise ships from falling over? ›

Essentially, a cruise ship stays upright because they keep all of the heaviest equipment below deck. This has the effect of keeping a low center of gravity. In addition, the shape of a cruise ship's hull is wide and rounded, which helps it move through the ocean smoothly and with minimal drag.

What was the biggest cruise ship disaster? ›

The sinking of RMS Titanic in April 1912 remains the worst, and the most infamous, cruise ship disaster in history. The sinking of the biggest passenger ship ever built at the time resulted in the death of more than 1,500 of the 2,208 people onboard.


1. Passenger Cruise Ship Safety Video
(WOW Video Production)
2. 20 Sinking Ships Caught On Camera
(The Finest)
3. Princess Cruises Safety Video 2021
4. How Do Ships Float On Water? | Archimedes Principle Explained
(Black Story)
5. Why large ships don’t sink in bad weather
(Interesting Engineering)
6. The Only Way to Survive a Sinking Ship
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 03/03/2023

Views: 5980

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.