Coast Guard reminds San Diego of safe travels despite Costa Concordia accident
by Michael Pines, San Diego’s Injury & Accident Prevention Expert
The Costa Concordia accident sent waves of concern for vacationers worldwide as the massive cruiseliner rammed into a rocky coastline just off the island of Giglio in Italy on Jan. 13, eventually sinking to the bottom of the sea. Nearly 20 people are still missing after the sunken wreckage became submerged within a few short hours, and 13 people have been confirmed dead. But despite the tragic accident, San Diego has little to worry about in terms of cruising safety, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The cruising industry is considered a relatively safe way to vacation according to statistics which say it is plausibly safer than crossing the street. In other words, from the millions of vacationers that choose cruising as their top way to spend a holiday, reported accidents are, in general, very few compared to other vacation activities. Nevertheless, the Costa Concordia accident reminds San Diego – a city known for having one of the largest ports for cruising – that, unfortunately, personal injury accidents can happen.
But despite the relatively small risk that comes with cruising, the U.S. Coast Guard says the San Diego Bay and surrounding areas are indeed safe.
“The only restriction is really Ballast Point, which is the narrowest part of the channel in San Diego Bay,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. J.G. Ryan Beck said in a statement to 10News.
The U.S. Navy helps keep the San Diego Bay and surrounding areas safe and clear for departure and arrival, including the removal or deterrence of any potentially dangerous areas. San Diego is considered one of the top destinations for cruise departure due in part to its sunny disposition and close location to popular vacation areas like Hawaii and Mexico.
“It is an excellent natural harbor with very little currents and very little hazards in terms of shoal water,” the Coastguardsman said.
Carnival cruises, the parent company to Costa Concordia, holds one of its largest hubs in San Diego. But despite the massive accident in Italy, San Diegans still feel confident about the cruiserliner, with one San Diego passenger explaining, “It just happened to be an accident that can happen anytime.”
Vacation safety and accident prevention
Spring and summer – the most popular times for vacation travel – are just around the corner. Whether you decide on a cruise vacation or a resort destination, consider the following safety and accident prevention tips while you enjoy a little R & R.
Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures
Families aboard the Costa Concordia reported that safety drills and emergency evacuation were not followed properly. On your vacation, make sure to familiarize yourself with the resort or cruiseliner and do not hesitate to ask crew members if you have any questions. If you suspect safety procedures are not being followed, speak to a member of management.
Know where your children are at all times
Although the task can prove difficult at times, be sure you are aware of your children at all times during your vacation. Older children may do fine without direct supervision so long as you are aware of their location. Aboard the Costa Concordia, a 5-year-old girl is still tragically missing. Do not risk an accident in San Diego: keep your child accounted for at all times.
When in doubt, speak up
Vacations can go awry when safety standards are overlooked. If you sense something is not quite right, do not hesitate to speak to management. If your questions are not being answered properly, continue to seek the appropriate answers or action. By being proactive, you may help avert the next serious or possibly fatal accident.
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