Drowning in a swimming pool on the passenger cruise ship Pacific Dawn with loss of 1 life

Location: Coral Sea, South Pacific Ocean.

Accident Investigation Report 9/2016

Investigation report into marine accident including what happened and safety lessons learned:

MAIB investigation report 9-2016: Pacific Dawn

Pacific Dawn


This reports the MAIB’s investigation of the drowning of a male passenger on the cruise ship Pacific Dawn while on passage in the Coral Sea, South Pacific Ocean, on 9 November 2015. He was noticed lying motionless at the bottom of the forward swimming pool. Despite then being retrieved swiftly from the water, attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Safety issues

  • A formal documented risk assessment for swimming pool usage can identify the associated risks of unsupervised passengers which, if not appropriately controlled or mitigated, could result in a passenger drowning.

  • It is important that the uncertain frequency of near drownings in unsupervised swimming pools is taken into account when conducting risk assessments so that an appropriate level of pool supervision is maintained in all circumstances.

  • A dedicated swimming pool attendant can provide constant supervision, enabling an emergency response to be initiated at the earliest opportunity and so prevent a passenger drowning.


Given the action already taken and planned by P&O Cruises Australia, no recommendations have been made as a result of this investigation.

Published 5 May 2016