The Parasail Safety Council estimates that there were more than 384 parasailing accidents in the USA from 1980 through 2009 — 83 of which resulted in serious bodily injury and 28 in death. These statistics are based United States Coast Guard reports, state and local law enforcement, local reporting agencies, individual accident reports, eye witness accounts from parasail operators, and other sources deemed reliable.
There are currently no licensing requirements, qualifications or industry standards to become a parasail operator. This encourages rogue operators to prioritize profit over safety.
1. LICENSING. Make sure you parasail with a fully licensed (state & local) company operating from a well established location, insured by a licensed insurance company. Don’t pay for your ride on the boat! this operator may not have a licensed or be insured.
2. ESTABLISHED OPERATORS. Only parasail with established business operators. Don’t be afraid to ask how long they’ve been in business, if there business permits are current with the City, and if the operator onboard is a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain.
3. HIGH WINDS. You should avoid parasailing in high wind conditions (over 15 knots at sea level) due to an increased difficulty and complications during emergency water landings. *updated 09/2010*
4. VISIBILITY. Never go up in rain, fog or an approaching storm.
5. PASSENGER AGE AND WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS. Parasailing is not recommend for individuals under the age of 16 or who’s weight exceeds 300 lbs.
6. TYPES OF EQUIPMENT. Educate yourself on the different types of parasail equipment, passenger support devices (e.g. Harness, Tandem Bar, Ridged Chair) methods being offered.
7. PRE-FLIGHT SAFETY BRIEFING. Make certain that you get adequate safety briefing prior to your flight. This safety briefing should include; a) a description of the activity itself, b) safety procedures in the event of an unexpected emergencies, c) the proper use of hands signals while airborne, d) evacuation procedures during a water landing, fire or capsizing, e) precluding any participant who appears to be afraid or intimidated prior to their aerial excursion.
8. ALTITUDE. Parasailing at an altitude of more than 600 feet is discouraged, especially in close proximity to the shoreline or other objects. The recommended altitude for using hand signals and recovery during water landings over open ocean is 600 and 300 feet over small lakes, bays or sounds. (figures based on ideal wind and sea conditions with limited traffic)
9. ASK QUESTIONS. Ask all the right questions. How long have you been in business? Do you have Insurance by a licensed Agent in this State? Is is good flying weather today?
10. RELEASE FORM. Read the release form carefully before you sign it.
11. Parasailing does have physical requirements, especially in the the event of a water landing.