Most safety hazards can easily be avoided. Common sense and good communication are the keys. 

Here are the five most common causes of insurance claims aboard passenger vessels:  

• Serious injuries or deaths can occur when passengers are allowed to ride in the foredeck area while the vessel is operating at high speed or when subject to sudden changes in sea conditions.

• Hatches are open and no one is assigned to warn people.

• Passengers are permitted to board or leave the vessel without crew assistance.

• Passengers use a vessel ladder and/or stairs without crew supervision.

• Passengers that become intoxicated.

The worst claims seem to occur in the foredeck area, on open top decks, and when passengers board or disembark vessels. 

Let’s take a look at the first cause. The best way to address the foredeck problem while under way is to simply rope it off, no matter what the sea condition. This way, your crew won’t have to babysit passengers while underway.

So you don’t assign crew to warn people about an open hatch? This is a management issue.

Passengers should almost never be allowed to board or disembark a vessel without a helpful crew person at the deck and another at the bottom of the gangway on the float or dock. Most passengers are not used to hopping on and off a moving object and are probably looking at something else and not paying attention. Also, often passengers have the wrong footwear on. There is nothing wrong with asking  passengers to take off their shoes if you think they could be injured. If handled correctly, passengers will thank you for being concerned about their safety.

Passengers going up or down ladders the wrong way causes many injuries. Instruction is key here. Always tell passengers to go backwards when going down ladders and to use the handrails.

Remember, safety comes first for your passengers.