Technical safety for cruise ship crews: Ensuring cruise ship safety

George Aris
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In this article, I look into the details of cruise ship safety, exploring international regulations, safety training for crew members, and the vital safety equipment that plays a crucial role in this dynamic environment.

Cruise ships are marvels of modern engineering and design, offering passengers unforgettable experiences on the high seas. However, beneath the glamour and luxury, ensuring the safety of both passengers and crew members is of paramount importance. Technical safety on a cruise ship encompasses a wide range of measures, regulations, and equipment designed to prevent accidents, respond to emergencies, and maintain the overall security of everyone on board.

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International regulations for cruise ship safety

The safety of cruise ships is subject to rigorous international regulations set forth by organisations dedicated to maritime safety. One of the prominent organisations responsible for these regulations is the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO establishes global standards and guidelines for the construction, operation, and maintenance of cruise ships, ensuring their seaworthiness and the safety of passengers and crew.

It's not just international organisations that play a crucial role, there are also national bodies reinforcing these regulations. One of these is the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in the United Kingdom. The MCA monitors and enforces compliance with international standards on cruise ships that operate under the British flag. These regulatory bodies collaborate with cruise lines to ensure that ships meet safety requirements, undergo regular inspections, and adhere to protocols that safeguard against potential risks.

Safety training for cruise ship crew

An essential part of cruise ship safety is the comprehensive training provided to crew members. These individuals are trained to respond quickly and efficiently to various emergency situations, ranging from fires and medical emergencies to evacuation procedures. Mandatory safety training covers essential skills such as crowd control, how to use a fire extinguisher, lifeboat familiarisation, and first aid. Essential training will also cover emergency signals.

Crew members also have the opportunity to take optional safety training courses that enhance their skill sets and contribute to the overall safety culture on board. These courses may lead to qualifications or certificates that demonstrate a higher level of competency in specialised areas, further ensuring the safety and well-being of all on board. A common qualification that crew may obtain is the Certificate of Proficiency in Survival Craft (CPSC) which provides increased knowledge of lifeboat operations.

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Front of house

There are plenty of members of onboard staff that are seen by and interact with guests such as waiters and receptionists. Although the main goal is to ensure they are looking smart, there are also safety considerations such as comfortable footwear that is anti-slip for walking on wet decking, tiles or other non-carpet areas.

Back of house

Back of house staff include cooks, cleaners and people who regularly work out of sight of guests. But their safety requirements are vital. Cooks in the galley for instance require non-slip footwear as floors could have spills of water or grease. Cleaning staff also need comfortable footwear and anti-slip when walking on wet bathroom floors, decking, tiles or other non-carpet areas.

Liquified Natural Gas (LNG)

More cruise ships are now using LNG as fuel to reduce their carbon footprint on voyages. This brings with it a whole set of safety requirements. In case of an accident (explosion and fire), anyone working with LNG will need to wear as a minimum FR anti-static coveralls and ESD (anti static) safety boots. We would also recommend using FR Arc garments as they provide a higher level of protection in the event of a gas explosion (i.e. the high heat generated by a gas explosion).

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Safety equipment on cruise ships

The sheer magnitude of safety equipment required on cruise ships highlights the importance of safeguarding passengers and crew members. From personal protective equipment (PPE) for dockside staff to uniforms designed to aid crew identification and safety solutions to aid efficient operation of the ship, the range of safety gear is extensive.

Here are some aspects to consider:

PPE for cruise staff

PPE for the cruise industry spans from those working front-of-house to those in the engine room. PPE also protects those working in port areas, providing them with the necessary PPE, such as hard hats, high-visibility vests, and steel-toed boots. At Tower we divide PPE for cruise into two categories: technical equipment and hotel operations. Both sets of workers require PPE that is unique to their role and keeps them protected at all times. Explore our PPE solutions for the cruise industry here.

Uniforms for on-board crew

Crew members' uniforms serve more than just an aesthetic purpose; they play a role in safety too – they must be practical, functional and safe. Uniforms enhance employee satisfaction as well as providing protection from hazards and defending workers against the elements. Different uniforms often signify specific roles, allowing passengers to identify personnel who can provide assistance in various situations. Comfort also comes into play, as many cruise workers will be wearing their uniform for hours on end. Discover our uniform solutions here.

Cleaning and hygiene solutions

In light of recent global events, maintaining hygiene and sanitation on cruise ships has gained even more significance. Strict protocols for cleaning and disinfection are now integrated into daily operations, helping to prevent the spread of illnesses among passengers and crew. With large numbers on board, having travelled from various geographical locations, bacterial and viral infections can easily spread, making exceptional sanitisation a priority. Effective cleaning processes aboard cruise ships can help mitigate these obstacles and improve safety standards. See how we can help here.

If you're looking to improve the safety on board your ships, get in touch with the team today to discuss the wide range of solutions we offer.


We’re currently supplying some of the biggest names in cruise with non-food consumables, such as personal paper products; cleaning equipment, hygiene products and hospitality consumables. We also supply PPE, safety equipment, workwear and uniforms.

Miami Cruise
George Aris4 TOWER21
George Aris
Divisional Managing Director - Cruise

Leading a passionate team dedicated to delivering on-time and in-full to customers, George looks after Tower’s place as an established, tier 1, global supplier of the biggest names in Cruise.

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