No matter how modern any cruise ship or any other type of ship becomes, on the water they are still vulnerable. There is still a life risk for anyone that is traveling. For instance, if one of the Royal Caribbean fleet ships, for example, the Symphony of the Sea, collapses in mid-ocean, a minimum of 9,000 people will die if there’s no evacuation plan in place.
So, for every cruise ship that is sailing through the ocean, there is definitely an evacuation plan in place. The most common evacuation plan is relying on lifeboats. So, do modern cruise ships have lifeboats? Yes. Most certainly they do. That’s not the real intent of this question.
How many Lifeboats are on a Cruise Ship?
This is the real question here. Every ship carrying a number of crews, passengers or anyone, has the basic requirement of ocean/ sea safety. That is they house lifeboats on those ships. But the real question still is yet to be answered.
Do modern cruise ships have enough lifeboats for everyone? To find answers to such questions, you have to understand that each passenger ship has a certain passenger capacity. If the capacity is filled, the ships will definitely not have enough rescue vessels on board.
Cruise ships like these contain enough lifeboats to meet the capacity of the guests only. The evacuation plans are designed in a way that the companies would prioritize the guests and the crew will focus on making sure each guest can get onto the freefall lifeboats.
For the 6,988 maximum occupancies of the guests of the Symphony of the sea, excluding the high crew number of 2,300, the total number of lifeboats is 18. The lifeboats this Modern cruise vessel carries have a maximum capacity of 370 each.
Do Modern Cruise Ships Have Enough Lifeboats for Everyone?
As I have said with the example of the Symphony of the sea, the cruise contains enough modern lifeboats for the guests only. The crew is meant to wait for the freefall lifeboats to get back when all the guests have been saved from harm’s way.
Let’s do the math. 18 boats with the capacity of 370 persons, the max number of people who can get on the lifeboats in a moment of accident is 6,660. This modern cruise vessel’s lifeboat capacity is 6.660. The total number of the crew onboard while the ship is filled to maximum capacity is 9,288.
So, this means, in a moment of crisis, these lifeboats will leave behind a total of 2,628 people of whom 328 are guests.
Now let’s do the math in the situation where it is carrying the average number of passengers. That is (+-)5,500. This time, the lifeboats will leave behind 1,140 crews. This means the number of free-fall lifeboats that are on the vessel is not enough.
Was there a Chance for the People who Died on the Titanic?
This tragedy killed 1,507 people in one event. Let’s find out if they had any chance. The enormous ship that had been set for sail had 16 lifeboats and 4 Engelhardt collapsible. These boats were capable of saving only 1,178 people who were on board.
On its maiden journey, the Titanic had 2,200 people on board. That means the vessel was not prepared for saving the 1,316 passengers on board let alone the crew. Even if every lifeboat was on-route, half of the people still would’ve died anyway.
Lifeboat Regulations for Cruise Ship
The usual regulation for lifeboats and evacuation plans during an accident is that each side of the cruise ship should have 37.5% lifeboats on each side. That covers 75% of the entire people onboard.
This ensures that all the passengers will be on board. The rest of the people, who are assumed to be crew only, are meant to evacuate using rigid or inflatables including liferafts and quality life jackets.
Does the Symphony of the seas follow this regulation? Of the 9,288 people at max capacity, the lifeboats can only house 6,660 people. That excludes over 300 passengers. And the simple mathematics suggests that the lifeboat can house only 71% of the total people on board.
This means these cruise ships are not really following the standard regulation set by the IMO (International Maritime Organization).
Should I Not Take a Cruise?
The math might seem a little disturbing but there’s no reason why you should not take a cruise. Let’s put our insights on the last accident of a cruise ship. The most recent cruise ship sinking event was a decade ago.
The Largest cruise ship named Costa Concordia carried 3,206 passengers and 1,023 crews. It hit a spanked rock formation when the larger ship deviated from its original route due to an error made by the navigation team.
37 lives were lost. As disheartening as it sounds, this is still an improvement over the staggering number of death tolls that the world saw in the Titanic incident.
These numbers prove that Average cruise ships have been substantially developed with more robust and tolerant bodies which can withstand almost any occurrence during their journey except for massive natural disasters.
Also, the cruise is planned in such a way making sure that there is no risk of natural disasters occurring along its route. This means cruises have become much safer than before. Despite the low number of lifeboats and their capacity, it’s as safe as it can be to go on a cruise.
A short answer to the question: do modern cruise ships have lifeboats is not enough. In a word, they do but the numbers are saying that they are not enough. This can raise panic among the passengers or people who want to take a luxurious vacation on a cruise with their loved ones.
If you have gone through the write-up above, you can definitely tell how developed vessels have become and how less likely it is for them to fall into an accident. So, if you are planning to take a cruise with your family and loved ones, please do.
For most of us, going on a cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience. There’s no way anyone should miss such an opportunity if they have the budget for it
I am an air pump specialist and have been working in the industry for over 10 years. I have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to air pumps and has helped many people choose the right pump for their needs. I am passionate about helping people get the most out of their air pumps and am always happy to share my knowledge with anyone who needs it. I am also a big believer in doing things yourself and am always happy to help people troubleshoot any problems they may be having with their pumps.