More Cruise Ship Passengers Go Overboard

A man was rescued from Tampa Bay on Monday morning after he climbed up on a railing of the Carnival Inspiration, slipped and fell overboard, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The passenger spent three hours clinging to a buoy and later told authorities he had been trying to get a better view of the pilot boat, which ferries harbor pilots between ships and the shore.

Meanwhile, a search is under way for a 50-year-old woman who reportedly went overboard from the Carnival Holiday in the Gulf of Mexico, CNN reports.

There sure has been a lot of this “falling” overboard lately. The Cruise and Ferry Passengers and Crew Overboard tally at cruisejunkie.com shows 10 so far this year, not counting the Holiday case, which brings it to 11. That compares with nine in all of last year. Reporting only cruise lines and omitting ferries, the numbers were seven last year and eight so far this year.  So we’re on track for a rate more like 2006 and 2007, in which the totals for ferries and cruise ships were 22 and 20.

Let’s go over, once again,  how people go overboard from a cruise ship.

1. They jump. This appears to be the most common reason. Suicides by jumping off a ship are occasionally planned, but the jump seems more often to be impulsive and fueled by alcohol.

2. They climb on the railings. For reasons ranging from the amorous to the curious, people sometimes climb up on the railings of the ship, slip and fall off. It is otherwise not possible to accidentally fall from a cruise ship.

3. They are thrown off. There have been a very few cases in which foul play has been considered a possibility, notably that of George Allen Smith IV of Greenwich. But even that case remains murky.

So, yes, technically you can “fall” from a cruise ship because no matter how you go over the railing, you’re going to fall afterward. But in most cases, you really have to put in some effort to do it.

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