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Cruise Ship Slip and Falls


While the biggest danger of being an occupant on a motorboat, jet ski, or other small personal watercraft is drowning, the same is not necessarily true for cruise ships, large yachts, and many other super-sized vessels. Cruise ships, which are essentially resort hotels on the water, present an entirely different element of danger if the proper safety measures are not taken. One of these safety measures is providing secure footing, hand rails, and securing all heavy loose objects for sea in times of heavy weather/rough seas. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident at sea, or were crushed by a falling object, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Passengers are Owed a Reasonable Duty of Care

In the 1958 Supreme Court case of Joseph Kermarec v. Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, an invited passenger, who had obtained a guest pass to board a ship, fell on a stairwell while leaving. He was injured and the cause of the fall, according to the civil lawsuit, was due to a defective canvas runner that had been improperly tacked to the stairway. The case eventually made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which found that the owner of a ship in navigable waters owes a duty of reasonable care to all aboard. The plaintiff won the lawsuit, and the case helped pave the way for safer standards of care on all types of vessels.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

The open ocean is by no means flat and calm. All cruise ships should be outfitted with proper flooring, slip resistant paint, hand rails, guard rails, and more. We handle all types of accidental injuries caused aboard cruise ships and other large vessels, including slips, trips, and falls that were the fault of the following:

  • Slippery or wet decks;
  • Lack of hand railings;
  • Unsturdy or unsecured stairways or ramps;
  • Degraded or worn out slip resistant paint or decking, or lack of slip resistant footing where it should have been used;
  • Poor lighting;
  • Lack of warning signs for abrupt edges, drops, dips, or raised flooring;
  • Lack of guard rail resulting in a fall to another level;
  • Ice or snow;
  • Spilled food or drink;
  • Damaged floor surface, such as cracks or holes;
  • Walkway cluttered with equipment, construction materials, boxes, power cords, or other items; and
  • Dirty flooring or excess debris.

As with all slip and fall premises accidents, the owner of the vessel must have real or constructive knowledge that the flooring or footing was in some way made unsafe. It must be proven that the unsafe condition also existed for a long enough period of time for the owner to know of and then fail to clean up or fix the situation. According to 46 U.S. Code § 30106, you have three years to bring a maritime personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party.

Call a Miami Maritime Attorney Today

If you slipped and fell on what was supposed to be your vacation aboard a cruise ship, we strongly encourage you to contact the Miami Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. today at 305-359-1999. We are eager to help you with your case.



  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice

It's Your Time To Win

Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998