A recent article by the editorial board of the Sun Sentinel discussed the need for regulations for the popular but often dangerous tourist attraction—parasailing. Unfortunately, more than forty people have died or been injured by this popular sport since 1988, and most people will remember the horrific accident involving two seventeen-year-old girls who were severely injured after the rope that connected their parachute to the motorboat broke, slamming them into a condominium building, dragging them over the roof, and, finally, knocking them into power lines and cars on the ground. One girl sustained brain and back injuries; the other one sustained severe brain trauma, a fractured neck, and injuries to her leg.
Florida Senator Maria Sachs is sponsoring a bill (her fourth attempt) that will ensure at least minimum safety standards for parasailing. Senator Sachs’ bill calls for the legislation to “prohibit operators from lofting people during sustained winds of 20 mph or higher, when wind gusts exceed 25 mph, when visibility is diminished by rain or fog, or when lightning is within seven miles.” Operators must also maintain a valid license, have at least $1 million in insurance coverage, and have an employee on the boat who constantly monitors weather conditions.
Larry Meddock, executive director of Water Sports Industry Association, which represents para sail operators, completely agrees with the proposed legislation: “We believe this bill is needed . . . so does the entire industry.”
The Florida Legislature should adopt this bill. Tourism is important to our state and area. When visitors come, they should be able to enjoy safely all the fun and exciting events and sports that Florida has to offer. These simple provisions will dramatically increase the safety of parasailing.
At any time, if you or a loved one is injured in any type of accident, call our law firm for a free case analysis and evaluation.
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