Most Common Reasons for Gangway Accidents on a Cruise Ship

gangwayBoarding a cruise ship can be very exciting. This usually means you are in for some relaxation and fun. But what happens if you are injured on the gangway before the excitement even starts? What if your method of entering and exiting the vessel presents an unsafe condition?

Essentially, a gangway is the narrow ramp used to bridge the gap between the land and the vessel so that passengers can board and exit the ship. They are typically positioned at an incline and have handrails and textured floors to prevent slips or falls. However, sometimes conditions are not safe, as such, and accidents happen on these gangways.

The most common issues that cause accidents on gangways include:

  • Not being properly secured to the ship or dock;
  • Slick handrails;
  • Slippery surfaces and/ or failure to warn of slippery surfaces;
  • Failure to follow safe weight limits;
  • Negligent supervision;
  • Excessively steep inclines and declines leading to falls; and
  • Failure to provide passenger assistance when the need arises.

Maritime law requires that cruise lines offer a safe method of ingress and egress on and off their ships. Often, these gangways are being used by tens of thousands of people each time passengers embark or disembark from a ship.  So, the gangway’s condition and functionality must be checked periodically due to the heavy foot traffic each week which can wear down the surface making it hazardous.

Because Maritime law considers the gangway part of the vessel, the owner of the ship or the cruise line will be held responsible for any injuries resulting from a gangway accident. The severity of these injuries vary depending on the mechanism of injury, but the most common include:

  • Neck and back injuries;
  • Torn ligaments;
  • Fractured bones;
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries;
  • Shoulder injuries;
  • Drowning; and
  • Sometimes even death.

If you have been injured in a gangway incident, it will be crucial to prove that the cruise line breached their duty of reasonable care. To do this, you should take photos at the scene of the accident to show proof of the dangerous condition. Additionally, many cruise lines have surveillance video of passengers embarking and disembarking, but they will not willingly release this footage.

It is also important to receive medical care after you sustain an injury. A detailed record of medical treatment will help prove your injury. Otherwise, failure in receiving appropriate medical treatment may have a negative impact on your claim.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident on a cruise ship, and need help navigating your claim, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), 1-888-892-2736 (toll free) or email us at

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