Staying Safe on a Carnival Cruise Ship: Avoiding and Handling Overboard Situations


A Carnival cruise vacation can be an unforgettable experience, offering unparalleled views of the ocean, access to exotic destinations, and a host of onboard activities. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety, even in the most relaxed environments. One of the rare but serious incidents that can occur on a cruise is an overboard situation. 

Recently, an unfortunate incident took place where a male passenger went overboard from the Carnival Elation cruise ship. The ship was en route back to Jacksonville, Florida when the incident occurred. The individual has been identified as 30-year-old Jaylen Hill.

The U.S. Coast Guard was immediately alerted and a search operation was launched in response to the incident. Despite their best efforts, the search was eventually suspended. This incident marks yet another case of passengers going overboard on cruise ships, a concern that has been growing over the years.

This incident follows another earlier in the year when Ronnie Lee Peale Jr., a 35-year-old, went overboard from a Carnival cruise ship, prompting a full investigation by the FBI. In addition, there was also a report of a passenger going overboard from Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas. On average, it’s estimated that 19 people go overboard on cruise ships each year.

Safety procedures on cruise ships have been under scrutiny due to these incidents. Cruise lines are constantly working to improve safety measures and ensure the security of their passengers. This includes the use of advanced surveillance systems, higher railings and the implementation of stricter safety protocols. Despite these measures, it remains crucial for passengers to exercise personal responsibility for their safety while enjoying their time on these cruise ships. Here are some tips on how to avoid it and what to do if it happens.


Preventing Overboard Incidents

1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Cruise ships are vast entities, and it’s easy to lose your bearings. Always keep track of where you are on the ship, especially when near the ship’s edge or railings. Avoid leaning over or sitting on railings, as this can lead to accidents.


2. Limit Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can impair your judgment and balance, increasing the risk of falling overboard. Enjoy the ship’s bar, but do so responsibly. Know your limits and avoid overconsumption.


3. Supervise Children

Children should always be supervised while onboard, particularly in areas close to railings or open decks. Make sure they understand the importance of not climbing on railings.


4. Attend Safety Drills

At the beginning of every cruise, there’s a mandatory muster drill where safety procedures, including what to do in case of a man overboard situation, are explained. Pay attention during these drills and ask questions if anything is unclear.


What to Do If Someone Goes Overboard on a Cruise Ship

Despite all precautions, if someone does go overboard, knowing how to react can save a life.


1. Alert the Crew Immediately

If you witness someone falling overboard, immediately alert the crew. They are trained to handle such situations and will take immediate action to rescue the person.


2. Throw a Lifebuoy

If you’re near a lifebuoy or anything that floats, throw it overboard near the person who has fallen. This can provide them with something to hold onto while awaiting rescue.


3. Keep Your Eyes on the Person

Keeping sight of the person in the water is crucial as it helps the crew locate them faster. If possible, point towards the person continually until the rescue team arrives.


4. Stay Calm

In such a situation, it’s essential to stay calm and let the trained professionals handle the situation. Your role is to provide information and not to attempt a rescue yourself.


While the possibility of going overboard on a Carnival cruise ship is extremely rare, being prepared and knowing what to do can make all the difference. Remember, safety should always be your first priority, even when you’re having the time of your life on a Carnival cruise.