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Flying safely among the clouds: A look at the White-Miskell Act

Every summer, tourists flock to Florida's picturesque beaches in droves. While most are perfectly content to enjoy the beaches from the ground, parasailing offers thrill-seeking vacationers an opportunity to enjoy the sights from the air. Unfortunately, the parasailing industry in Florida has a tragic safety record.

As a 2016 Sun Sentinel article explains, "Since 1998 in Florida, parasailing has accounted for 38 injuries and six deaths." For years, the state legislature had refused to pass regulations that would have made the industry safer. That was until two infamous parasailing accidents changed everything.

Tragedies in the sky

Some of you may remember the 2007 accident in Pompano Beach involving Amber White and her sister. The two women tragically lost their lives when the rope of their parasail broke, sending both women crashing into the roof of a hotel and a grouping of trees. The second accident involved Kathleen Miskell in 2012, who died after falling 200 feet when her parasail harness broke.

Though both of these accidents were incredibly tragic, they did highlight the need for government safety regulations.

Two years after Miskell's death, the Florida legislature introduced the White-Miskell Act. The new law not only places tougher restrictions on how parasailing owners operate in our state, but it also requires owners to carry up to $2 million in liability coverage so as to properly compensate victims and their families when accidents do happen.

The future of parasailing in Florida

Even though Florida hasn't seen any parasailing deaths or injuries since the introduction of the White-Miskell Act in 2014, nobody knows what the future will hold. At least now, victims of parasailing accidents know they can recover adequate compensated for their injuries, which is at least some small comfort.

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