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Ship accidents are not very common, but can be devastating

In Florida, boating is practically a way of life. Whether you own your boat or you enjoy the occasional cruise, this can be a great way to relax and enjoy what our beautiful state has to offer. However, you and other Floridians should be aware of the potential dangers that might occur when you are a passenger on a cruise ship or smaller pleasure boat.

You may have heard about the recent incident involving a casino boat that caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico. Reportedly, the small ship went up in flames after experiencing engine trouble. All 50 passengers were able to escape to safety, but unfortunately, a 42-year-old woman later died. As of yet, authorities have not released the cause of death.

According to The New York Times, fires are one of the most common types of mishaps to befall cruise ships and recreational vessels. Between 2006 and 2011, there were about seven or eight cruise ship fires reported each year. Overall accident reports involving passenger ships have been inconsistent, but it appears that smaller boats, such as the one that caught fire in Florida, are the most likely to experience problems. In addition to fires, some of the most common accidents that could compromise your safety on a cruise ship include the following:

  • Loss of power, which might increase the risk of airborne illness, food poisoning or psychological distress
  • Overflowing plumbing and sewage systems
  • Striking ice or submerged rocks
  • Foul play involving other passengers or crew members

You might also worry that the ship you are on could sink. Fortunately, sinking is only a remote possibility. An estimated 16 passenger ships have sunk between 1980 and 2012. While the thought of suffering an injury on a cruise ship can be frightening, it might encourage you to know that such incidents are rare, considering that millions of people in the United States go on cruises every year. Even so, you may be eligible for compensation if someone else's negligence led to an injury or illness on a boat.

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