Parasailing in Florida may soon be subject to legislation

After several deaths and serious accidents in recent seasons, parasailing is closer to becoming a regulated industry in Florida, as the Senate has approved a bill that would make companies offering the beachside activity enforce safety guidelines. A Democratic senator from Delray Beach is the bill’s sponsor.

The popular water sport involves being lifted into the air while attached to a tow rope pulled by a boat and wearing a parachute.

During last summer, two teens were parasailing when the wind lifted them out over the beach and slammed them into a condo and then a power line before they descended into a parked car. The year before, a woman died when her harness broke and she crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 200 feet below. A 2007 accident caused a girl and her sister to crash land onto a two-story house and a neighboring tree when their parasailing rope broke.

The proposed legislation that passed unanimously includes regulations requiring insurance, license and equipment held to industry standards along with weather guidelines that would force operators to shut down when certain dangerous conditions were present. According to the language of the bill, operators must have $1 million dollar insurance policies, carry certain equipment on board the towboats and have Coast Guard-issued licenses.

One owner in Cocoa Beach supports the legislation, saying guidelines would eliminate unscrupulous operators that put a black mark on the industry. She also hopes that insurance rates would decline once companies become regulated.

The bill awaits House approval and the governor’s signature before becoming Florida law.

The upcoming summer 2014 season will bring tourists in droves to Florida beaches, and as every year, there will be boating accidents and other injuries, some of which may be due to companies’ negligence. If you or a family member are injured by an intoxicated boater or in a cruise ship accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible for payment of your medical bills and other compensation.

Source: Miami Herald, “Florida Senate Oks bill on parasailing regulations” Kareem Copeland, Apr. 03, 2014