Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities

Reaffirmed January 2019, June 2013, October 2007 and October 2001

Revised December 1997 with current title

Originally approved September 1995 titled "Guidelines for Care of Cruise Ship Medical Facilities"


As an adjunct to this policy statement, ACEP has prepared a policy resource and education paper titled "Cruise Ship Healthcare Guidelines"


The American College of Emergency Physicians believes that appropriate emergency care and health care maintenance for passengers and crew members aboard ships sailing in international waters are desirable. The cruise ship industry and its medical departments should retain medical personnel who can:

  • Provide quality maritime medical care for passengers and crew members aboard cruise ships;
  • Initiate appropriate stabilization, diagnostic, and therapeutic maneuvers for critically ill or medically unstable patients;
  • Support, comfort, and care for patients on board ship; and
  • Assist, in conjunction with the cruise line, in the medical evacuation of patients in a timely fashion when appropriate.

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