Parasailing Accidents

Florida Senator Files Bill To Improve Parasailing Safety Regulations


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Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. is comprised of attorneys that are nationally-recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of lawyers has over a century of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients.

Parasailing accidents are extremely serious and can lead to severe – if not fatal – injuries. In 2001, a Kentucky mother and her daughter were killed while parasailing in Fort Myers Beach, Florida after their harness broke, but unfortunately, they are not the only victims in recent years. Since then, Florida has seen at least two more parasailing deaths, which has prompted a state senator to take action.

There are currently no formal regulations for parasailing in place in the United States, despite how many people who go parasailing each year and the number of accidents that ensue. Although some local areas may impose their own regulations, there are no rules in place regarding the safety of parasailing equipment. Statistics from the non-profit organization Parasail Safety Council reveal that as many as five million people go parasailing each year, and all of these people are in danger of being severely hurt or killed because of a lack of safety regulations. In the past 30 years alone, over 1,200 accidents have taken place, resulting in more than 400 serious injuries and over 70 fatalities. However, Delray Beach State Senator Maria Sachs is sick and tired of these alarming figures and is doing her part to improve parasailing safety.

Senator Sachs filed Senate Bill 64 to impose regulations on the parasailing industry in order to prevent future accidents and deaths. Sachs is not alone in her concern, however. Many have argued that the industry has minimal – if any – rules in place to protect adventure seekers, including Moe Catherwood. Catherwood was among the first to start parasailing tours in the area during the 1980s, and voiced his concerns on the matter. According to him, most captains take care to prevent accidents, including monitoring the weather and checking equipment for malfunctions, but he is not surprised by Senator Sachs’ recent push to improve safety standards.

“There have been too many accidents not enough precautions,” said Catherwood.

Senate Bill 64 would require parasailing venues to carry insurance, would call for regular inspections of venues and equipment, and would limit commercial parasailing to wind speeds no higher than 20 miles per hour.

“Florida is a natural magnet for adventure-seeking tourists, but we need to better ensure that they are as safe in the air as they are on the ground and this legislation is designed to do just that,” said Senator Sachs.

If it passes, the new laws regulating parasailing would take effect July 1st 2013, just in time for summer beachgoers to be protected against any mishaps that might take place during their adventure.

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