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USCG advises warnings to stem overboard incidents

In a safety alert, the US Coast Guard ‘strongly’ recommended shipowners and operators warn passengers against high-risk behavor that could result in going overboard.

Safety briefing/signage

This warning could take place during the passenger orientation safety brief or with signage that standing or stepping onto benches and railings is prohibited.

The agency suggested signage warning of the penalties that may be assessed for any passenger who enters the water in an unauthorized manner.

USCG also advised an ‘adequate number’ of crew employees be available to detect and deter high-risk behavior that could result in a passenger going overboard.

The safety alert follows multiple injuries and fatalities in recent years resulting from high-risk behaviors by passengers.

These include deliberately jumping into the water and climbing on or over protective railings, resulting in accidental falls.

These actions put the ship, crew and other passengers at risk as the ship maneuvers to try to retrieve the person.

Potential $34,000 fine

A passenger who intentionally jumps into the water from a commercial vessel or falls as a result of high-risk behavior may be considered to be interfering with the safe operation of a vessel as defined by 46 US Code 2302.

The Coast Guard said it takes this offense very seriously and such actions could result in a fine up to $34,000.