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Is the FlowRider on Royal Caribbean ships dangerous?

Posted by RCI fans on April 15, 2011 at 10:10 AM

We've all seen the commercials for Royal Caribbean's newest fleet of ships that feature, among other amazing new onboard amenities, the FlowRider. The FlowRider is a surfing simulator that uses powerful jets of water to create an artificial wave for guests to (try to) surf on.

Inevitably, guests fall and the rush of water pushes the person to the back where the participant strikes a padded wall. After a good laugh, they give it another try or let someone else go. FlowRiders have been part of Royal Caribbean ships for years now but a recent court case may raise a question about their safety.

The case of Charlene Johnson vs. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., tells the story of Charlene Johnson took a private lesson on the FlowRider but when she fell, she claims she was violently thrown against the wall and injured herself. Her lawyer presented evidence that Royal Caribbean had negligently operated the FlowRider such as shortening the distance of the area from where a person falls to the back wall beyond the manufacturers' specifications.

The Federal Judge in the case ruled that despite what Royal Caribbean did, the waiver of liability Ms. Johnson signed before riding cleared Royal Caribbean of any wrong doing and dismissed the case against Royal Caribbean.

So is the FlowRider dangerous? Judge Moreno, the Chief Judge in the Southern District of Florida, called the FlowRider “inherently dangerous” but the waiver guests sign is enough to proect Royal Caribbean.

What do you think? Do you think the FlowRider is dangerous? Will you ride it?



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