Parasailing Safety Tips

Reduce Your Chance of a Parasailing Injury or Death

The best thing you can do to prevent a parasailing accident is to educate yourself on the sport and the company providing you with the parasailing experience. Aside from keeping your feet safely planted on the ground, here are some general safety tips to help keep you safe while parasailing.

Licensing: Since the industry is not licensed or regulated, you have to take safety matters into your own hands. Only parasail with established business operators who are insured by a state licensed agency. Ask to see a copy of the license. Many unlicensed operators often require cash-only sales.

Established Venders and Operators: Ask how long the company has been in business. Ask them if they are licensed and insured. Ask if the operator on board is a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain. Verify that the parasailing company uses the correct safety equipment. Ask them about their safety record. If the vendor is hesitant to provide that information or doesn’t know that information, consider using another vendor.

Boat Captain Qualifications & Boat Inspection: Make sure you boat captain is licensed. Your parasailing boat captain is required to have a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license to operate a boat with paying passengers. The captain is responsible for all daily equipment maintenance/repairs and creating/following maintenance schedules, completing ship logs, and all aspects of the operations including pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight. Make sure your captain has experience in parasailing and has a good safety record, as there are no requirements that boat captains complete any parasailing-specific training before they being operating the boat.

Inspect the boat to see if it is in good working order. Boats inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard will have an inspection decal. Ask the boat operator or boat captain for a written policy for safety training and incident management. If the boat captain or boat operator is hesitant to provide requested information or doesn’t know the answer, consider using another vendor.

Equipment Inspection: Educate yourself and learn about the proper safety equipment needed prior to your parasailing trip (towing vessel, winch system, canopy, towline, etc.). Ask your parasailing company and boat captain about which safety equipment they use. Inspect the equipment before use and take-off. Make sure you clearly know how to use the equipment before take-off. Always wear a life jacket to prevent drowning and a helmet to prevent traumatic brain injuries.

Safety Briefings: Make sure your boat captain conducts a safety briefing before your trip. You should learn what to expect on the flight and should be provided information on unexpected landings and emergency procedures. It is also important that you and the captain have clear hand signals to communicate in the event that something goes wrong or to be able to communicate your needs.

Age & Weight Restrictions: Parasailing is generally not recommended for passengers under the age of 16 or whose weight exceeds 300 pounds.

Altitude Restrictions: Parasailing at an altitude of 600 feet or more is discouraged. This is especially important if you are parasailing near the shoreline or near other objects such as trees or buildings.

Weather Conditions: Always watch the weather leading up to and the day of the parasailing trip. In Florida, weather can change in a moment with a fast-moving thunderstorm, lightning, or wind. Do not go parasailing in high wind conditions (over 15 knots at sea level) or if there is rain, fog, or an approaching storm.

Your Surroundings: Ask your boat captain to show you where the parasailing route is and where you will be going. Inspect that route and look to see if there are any potential obstructions in your way such as trees, buildings, other boats, or mountains.

Even educated and safety-minded passengers can still experience a parasailing injury or death, just as reputable parasailing companies can experience parasailing accidents. Remember safety is your hands. Do your research and only work with an established, licensed business. Do not let a parasailing company put profits above your safety.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries or death from a parasailing accident or boating accident in Florida, throughout the U.S., or while on a cruise and would like to learn more about your legal rights, please contact the Law Offices of Zimmerman & Frachtman or call (954) 509-1900 or toll free at (800) 886-LAWS. We offer free consultations and charge you only if we win your case.