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Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

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Florida’s New Parasailing Law

Florida Statutes Section 327.02, passed in 2014, represents the first law regulating the parasailing industry in the country.  After seven years and numerous attempts, John Leighton and his client, Shannon Kraus, succeeded in helping get this law passed.  Shannon lost her 15 year-old daughter Amber may White in 2007 when she and her sister were parasailing off Pompano Beach.  The boat carrying them should not have been operating at the time, and winds and seas made the parasailing extremely dangerous.  Poorly maintained equipment contributed to the tragedy, where the girls were blown into the beachfront where the parasailing line snapped, catapulting the two girls into a building roof and then onto trees.  Amber died from her injuries and her sister, Crystal, suffered a head injury.

Each year there have been tourists who are injured or killed in Florida while parasailing.  Some face the same hazards as the White sisters; others drown when their parasails end up in the water. This law is the first attempt to reign in the industry and require minimum standards and liability insurance.  The bill is named the “White-Miskell Act” to reflect the sad sacrifice of Amber May White and another parasailing victim.  It is terrible that so many have given their lives when this law should have been passed years ago, but it is greatly satisfying to see some legislation which will help protect tourists and locals alike. We are so proud of Shannon for her dedication and hard work in pressuring the legislature to do the right thing.