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Lack of Safety Regulations for Florida Parasailing Companies

Fiol Law Group|Posted in Safety on April 27, 2017

Regulation of Florida parasailing companies has once again become a subject of debate after a woman was critically injured and later died over the Labor Day weekend in Clearwater, Florida. The tether between the towboat and the parasail failed, leaving the injured woman and her fiancé at the mercy of the wind. Winds of 22 mph with gusts of up to 34 mph were recorded in the Clearwater area shortly before the accident. The parasail floated over the beach where it crashed among beach umbrellas and struck a volleyball pole. The man was able to land in the water and sustained minor injuries, but the woman was left in critical condition. Local law enforcement authorities impounded the parasailing boat pending investigation.

Proposed Parasailing Legislation Defeated

Parasailing is not subject to any specific safety regulations. Coast Guard regulations apply to the tow vehicle but do not address parasailing operations. Florida legislators have attempted to pass legislation to regulate parasail operators, but so far have had little success. Legislation was first proposed in 2006, yet was defeated three years in a row.

The most recent regulation was introduced in 2008 in response to a fatal accident wherein 15-year-old Amber White was killed when the tow boat grounded. The parasail started spinning out of control and eventually broke the tow line, allowing White’s parasail to slam into the side of a hotel. The legislation was named the Amber May White act in her memory, but, unfortunately, the proposed legislation still has not been passed by the Florida legislature.

Even though no set regulations exist regulating parasailing operators, there may still be ways to hold operators liable for personal injuries. If you or a family member is injured in a parasailing accident, talk to an attorney in your area for an evaluation of your case.

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