When you go on a cruise, you expect to have a great time in picturesque vistas and be safe the whole time. However, bad things do happen. One of the scariest potential dangers on a cruise is going overboard.
In 2010, the US Department of Transportation introduced the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which, in part, requires most cruise ships who do business in the United States to have a Man Overboard System. Most cruise lines do not make it public what kind of system, if any, that they have, and Disney Cruise Line is no different.
Many people suspect that Disney Cruise ships have an automatic system like the one provided by Seafaring Security Services. Why? Because of the number of successful search and rescue missions they have had – including one on the Disney Dream in 2017 that took less than an hour to recover a man who fell over the railing and into the ocean.
Not many other cruise lines have such a system; in fact, in 2015, Disney recovered a passenger who had fallen overboard on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of The Seas. The Oasis didn’t even realize this man had gone overboard.
While an automatic system would have helped in this situation, Disney’s Cruise ship’s automatic system couldn’t have sensed it, but the Disney ship was able to recover the passenger and transfer him to a local port for medical attention.
Disney Cruise, who has never confirmed what if any kind of system they have, has recently been filmed with crew members throwing dummies overboard several times testing the system. After all, Disney says the automatic system isn’t full-proof; it often picks up ocean spray and other signals that cross the sensor line. The problem is that these tests took place at Castaway Cay in front of guests, many of whom were bothered by the sight.
Perhaps these tests were used to refine the sensors of such an automatic system. After all, the system must be sensitive enough to detect a passenger going overboard but not so sensitive that it goes off every time a wave splashes. Otherwise, the system is just crying wolf.