Parasailing in Florida Receives Long-Awaited Regulatory Laws

beached sailboat on its side

Due to a drastic increase in parasailing injuries and deaths in the Florida since 2007, a new law has been enacted in an attempt to reduce the amount of casualties and protect both parasailer and the operators of parasails. This law, coined as the ‘White-Miskell Act‘ was finally incorporated in the laws that govern commercial activities and water sports on the beaches of Florida, recently.

This law requires that the operator of parasails log the present weather patterns and conditions before heading out for each parasailing excursion. Weather conditions off the Florida coastlines can sometimes be unpredictable and sporadic, so the operator should always exercise his or her judgment as to whether it is safe to embark on each sailing event. In addition to that, the law requires that all operators register their business and watercrafts with the U. S. Coast Guard and avoid operating parasails in the vicinity of airports.

Most commercial parasailing companies admit that these practices have always been a part of their daily routine. As a result of these safe practices, some parasail operators are able to keep a better safety record than others. Roger Bevan of Radical Rides of Pensacola Beach, agrees that most operators have been conducting business safely and along these safely guidelines for years.

The law is named after two women who died tragically in separate parasailing accidents. Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut succumbed to her injuries on August 2012, when she fell from her harness at Pompano Beach. Amber White of Belleview, parasailing line snapped, resulting in her hitting a hotel roof in 2007. She died on impact. These two incidents were the turning point that prompted the passing of this new legislation.

The main aim of the law is to provide some uniform guideline across the state that all parasailer can abide by. Once followed, the amount of tragic parasailing instances should be reduced over time.

Bob West, director of public safety for the Santa Rosa Island Authority, emphasized that even though the law is meant to be enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, he is elated to see that the laws will take effect statewide and most operator are becoming more focused on safety . Hopefully, other areas in the country will also adopt it, since the law was enacted solely to make the sport of parasailing safe for everyone to indulge in and enjoy.

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