Is parasailing on your summer bucket list? You’re not alone. According to the Parasail Safety Council, approximately 3 to 5 million people partake in the sport of parasailing every year.
Sailing through the air at heights of up to 500 feet with perfect views of the ocean is exhilarating for many people. But what is intended to be a fun, adventurous activity can easily turn into a tragedy if safety is ignored.
Parasailing has become a popular attraction at local beaches across the Gulf Coast community. However, many don’t realize how regularly the sport results in severe injuries and even fatalities. It’s important to understand the safety risks of parasailing and what to do if you’re involved in an accident.
As a personal injury law firm, our team at Long & Long is dedicated to helping the victims of many different kinds of accidents receive the justice they deserve. We’ve seen the dangers of parasailing first-hand and know how life-altering these accidents can be. If you or a loved one has suffered traumatic parasailing injuries due to someone else’s negligence, our parasailing accident lawyers are here to help you understand your legal options.
Alarming Parasailing Statistics
While statistics related to parasailing accidents, injuries, and deaths can be difficult to gather, the Parasail Safety Council has reported the following:
- There are approximately 242 commercial parasail concessions in the U.S. and its territories operating 627+ commercial parasail tow vessels.
- Over the past 30 years, more than 1,200 parasailing accidents occurred, over 400 resulted in serious injuries and more than 70 resulted in fatalities.
- 95 percent of all parasail fatalities result from the parasailors’ inability to escape/evacuate from a harness passenger support system following an unplanned water landing in high winds.
Lack of Regulation Leads to Danger
The number of parasailing accidents would likely be lower if the sport and those who administer it were bound to set safety regulations. Unlike many other open-water activities such as boating, snorkeling, and jet skiing, parasailing is, surprisingly, not officially regulated by the county, state, or federal government.
Some localities have established rules around parasailing, but there are no specific procedures mandating the training of those operating parasailing businesses or the safety of the equipment being used. Private companies also face no restrictions regarding safe weather conditions for parasailing.
This lack of regulation allows private parasailing companies to set their own standards when it comes to their operations and equipment, which are often too low to protect parasailors. Many times, business owners will risk taking groups out on the water in conditions that are known to be unsafe in order to make more money.
Common Causes of Parasailing Incidents
While parasailing can be a fun and exciting experience, it is also one of the most dangerous sports. There are many things that can go wrong, especially if safety is not made a priority.
The majority of parasailing accidents are due to poor equipment or lack of operator training. According to Forbes, one of the top causes of serious accidents is tow line separation. The tow line connects the parasail to the boat and can easily break or come loose if faulty materials are used or the boat operator drives recklessly. In the event this happens, you may drop hundreds of feet and be dragged through the water until the boat stops.
Some other common factors that contribute to parasailing incidents include:
- Harness Failure
- Tandem Failure
- Parachute Failure
- Mechanical Failure of Winches or Tow Boats
- Inclement Weather Conditions
How Our Attorneys Can Help
If you suffered severe injuries or lost a loved one in a parasailing accident that was a direct result of another person’s wrongdoing, you may be entitled to receive compensation.
Unfortunately, the process of filing a claim for damages can be challenging, especially when you’re also trying to recover from serious injuries. In these situations, an attorney will be your best resource and give you the highest chance of holding the responsible party liable for your injuries.
Our Mobile, Alabama, parasailing accident lawyers and the entire staff at Long & Long work with accident victims throughout Baldwin County. Here are just a few ways our office can help you:
100% Free Initial Consultation
After an accident that wasn’t your fault, give our office a call to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys will review the details of your case in-depth to determine whether you have a case and the best manner in which to proceed.
No Hourly Legal Fees
We believe that injured victims should have access to affordable and reliable legal representation. That’s why we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you never have to pay hourly legal fees. In fact, you won’t owe us anything unless we win for you!
Tough Trial Lawyers
After a parasailing accident or any kind of personal injury, you want to have an attorney on your side with experience. While the majority of these cases are settled outside of the courtroom, it’s important that your lawyer isn’t afraid to take your case to court, if needed.
The threat of going to trial alone can sometimes push insurance companies to pay injured victims the full amount of compensation they deserve. With over 30 years of combined experience, the team at Long & Long consists of tough trial lawyers who are ready to fight on your behalf.
We understand that accidents happen in many different forms and, oftentimes, could have been prevented if safety procedures were followed.
From parasailing to car accident injuries, every personal injury case is unique and, indeed, personal. For this reason, our office strives to provide every individual that walks through our door the personalized attention, care, and strong legal services that their situation demands.
Parasail Safety Tips
Knowing how dangerous parasailing can be, it is important to educate yourself and your loved ones about the ways to stay safe, especially if it is your first time.
Listed below are a few safety tips to keep in mind before parasailing:
1. Inspect the Operator’s Equipment
Make sure that the parasail boat appears to be in good condition. Avoid parasailing with an operator whose parasail equipment looks old and weathered, this is especially true with the tow rope. Never parasail if the tow rope looks worn or frayed. This is your life line!
2. Understand the Release Form
Before signing a release form, make sure that the operator has thoroughly explained the risks of parasailing. Be wary of any operator who simply hands you a form without discussing what you’re signing.
3. Listen During the Safety Briefing
A professional parasail business that operates with safety in mind should always provide a detailed safety briefing prior to going out on the water. According to Parasail Safety Council, this briefing should include:
- A basic description of the parasail activity, equipment, and inherent risks.
- Safety precautions during your excursion while onboard the vessel.
- The proper use of hand signals in the event you want to be retrieved before your ride is over.
- The correct position for landings, especially in rough seas and high-speed landings to prevent bodily injuries.
- Detailed rescue instructions and survival techniques in the event of equipment failure, emergency water landings in high winds and/or rough seas.
If the operator does not brief you on these safety procedures, do NOT parasail with them, as they are likely inexperienced or reckless.
For more important safety tips, please read the Parasail Safety Council’s consumer safety guidelines.
Get Help Today
Were you or a loved one injured while parasailing? If your injuries were the direct result of the operator or another party’s negligence, our parasailing accident lawyers at Long & Long may be able to help.
Some business owners and their insurance companies will do anything they can to avoid paying injured victims the money they deserve. Parasailing accidents can cause serious injuries that result in high medical bills, lost wages, and immense pain and suffering.
If you have a case, our legal team is here to help make sure insurance companies don’t treat your injuries like water under the bridge. Our main office is located in Mobile, Alabama, but we also serve clients in Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Daphne, Fairhope, Foley, Spanish Fort, Malbis, Robertsdale, and throughout Baldwin County.