Living and working in South Florida, our maritime lawyers have seen an unfortunate number of victims succumb to parasailing accidents. Earlier this year, two teens were seriously injured in a parasailing accident in Panama City Beach, Florida after their parasail tow detached from the vessel. This incident showed the risks associated with the sport and served as a clear reminder that things can take a turn for the worst at any moment. Although parasailing is a popular and fun water activity, sadly and despite the dangers associated with the sport and countless accidents (over 1,200 in the past 30 years), there have not been any official regulations governing the industry or tour operators in Florida or the United States as a whole. That is, until now.
We are excited to announce that finally, safety standards have been set for Florida’s commercial parasailing industry. On October 14, Florida legislators revised maritime safety laws to include parasailing businesses. Now, thanks to Florida Statute 327, all parasailing operators will be required to abide by several safety standards, which will hopefully drastically decrease the number of parasailing accidents in the future and ensure the activities remains both fun and safe.
Statute 327 establishes the following stipulations on the commercial parasailing industry:
- Requires operators to document weather conditions before commencing a trip.
- Limits the time and location where parasailing tours can be held.
- Requires operators to bring an additional observer on the trip to help monitor conditions.
- Mandates operators to carry liability insurance.
- Requires operators to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.