Norwegian Cruise Line announced today it will employ certified lifeguards at all family pools, along with providing safety vests for non-swimmers.

The safety precaution follows a dozen drowning or near-drowning incidents on major cruise lines during the past two years.

The Norwegian Epic, based in Port Canaveral, Norwegian Breakaway in New York and Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Getaway out of PortMiami will be the first to hire certified lifeguards this summer. They are the cruise line’s largest ships and cater to families. The remainder of the fleet will have the guards on duty by early 2018.

“Norwegian has stationed pool monitors on our largest ships since 2015 and we are now taking further steps to ensure the safety of our youngest guests with the addition of certified lifeguards across our fleet,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “While parents are always the first line of supervision when it comes to water safety, we felt it was important to provide this added measure across our fleet.” 

Disney Cruise Line was the first to hire lifeguards after a near drowning at a family pool aboard Disney Fantasy in 2013.

In February 2014, a four-year-old boy drowned aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. The child and his six-year-old brother were pulled from a pool unconscious and the older boy survived.

An eight-year-old child drowned on Royal Caribbean Cruise’s Anthem of the Seas last July. The cruise line also has started stationing lifeguards at their onboard pools.

Norwegian’s first responders will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours.

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