Tourists flock to sunny Florida year-round, but the greatest influx of vacationers to the Panhandle region is during the summer months. “No Vacancy” signs on beachfront motels become common as tourists crowd the beaches and spend their dollars on local entertainment.

Many decide to go for a bit of adventure during their week at the shore. Parasailing along the beach is a popular activity — but is it safe?

The jury is still out on that one, but what can be said is that the industry remains unregulated. As such, the checks and balances that typically would reveal dangers and safety flaws are virtually nonexistent.

Still, parasailing remains a popular beach activity, with as many as 5 million participants annually in the 50 states and U.S. territories. That’s a lot of folks who literally put their lives in the hands of parasail operators, considering they have no:

  • required inspections of their equipment
  • guidelines or federal regulations for certification or training of the operators
  • mandates to end parasail flights when weather conditions destabilize

Four years ago, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their Parasailing Safety report, which contained the aforementioned concerns. Still, little has changed in the unregulated industry.

Florida has certainly known its share of parasailing tragedies and near-tragedies.

Parasailing often occurs in changing weather conditions with participants suspended 500 feet or more above the water’s surface. Accidents often result in either serious injury or death, according to the agency’s investigation, which is its first into parasailing safety.

Just a short drive up the beach in Panama City Beach, two teens were badly injured in 2013 when their towline snapped in high winds. The canopy slammed into a condo on the beach.

The year before, a female parasailer died in Pompano Beach when the harness broke away from the flight bar. She crashed into the ocean 450 feet below.

If you were injured in a parasailing accident on Florida’s Panhandle, you may be able to recoup some of your losses by filing a claim for damages. Contact the Law Offices of John W. Merting to discuss your potential parasailing injury case.