Death of a passenger by drowning SAPPHIRE PRINCESS 7th August 2014, East China Sea

The UK MAIB has published its investigation into the tragic drowning of a passenger on board the cruise ship Sapphire Princess in the East China Sea on 7 August 2014.

Whilst there are few, albeit a growing number of large yachts with substantial swimming pools on board, water relaxation is obviously a significant part of the cruise experience – whether in Jacuzzis, plunge pools or indeed overboard and guest awareness of attendant risks may be reduced in an unfamiliar and perhaps overwhelming environment. When food and alcohol consumption is added, the risk is exacerbated. Few guests wish to be formally supervised when they are relaxing, and this report again underlines the need for rational risk assessment.

What will be of surprise in this case is the absence of suitably trained personnel in the vicinity of the pool, which resulted in a delay in commencing vital CPR to the passenger.

For those on board Watkins' managed boats, please ensure that all crew members are given an opportunity to read this and confirm so in your next HESS meeting minutes. We would also require confirmation that all personnel have had appropriate first aid training and if not, that refresher training will be carried out. If necessary, this can be arranged by this office. In the meantime, please ensure that the next emergency training includes a discussion of this report and a CPR demonstration.

I can be contacted at any time if anyone has any questions. We would welcome any feedback of course, and would be pleased to circulate any comments.