Translate
Talk to Us Latest News

Negligent Security Seminar | March 2015

Florida personal injury lawyers

talk to an attorney 888.988.1774

Miami Parasailing Laws and Safety Regulations

People flock to Miami from all over the world to experience its culture, nightlife, and beautiful beaches. There are no better beaches anywhere, and the city offers some of the best water sports in the country. 

At practically any time of day, you can see jet skis, people water skiing, catamarans, speedboats, sailboats, and other activities going on around the city’s waterways. 

With the beautiful year-round weather in Miami, the fun doesn’t stop. Ideal conditions mean recreational water activities are happening every day of the year. 

All that fun is fantastic for visitors and locals alike. But with so much traffic on the water, accidents are bound to happen. They’re an unfortunate part of having so many people out having fun at the same time. 

Parasailing injuries have gotten a lot of attention in recent years because people are going fast while suspended in the air. A lot can go wrong. 

If you or someone you know gets hurt in a parasailing accident, you need an attorney who understands parasailing laws and how to help you get the justice you deserve. 

Parasailing Is Fun…But Can Be Dangerous

There are many sports and other activities out there that are fun because they involve some level of risk. 

Whether it’s driving a fast car or jumping out of a plane, there has always been a lot of support for extreme sports. It’s a great rush. 

Parasailing is one way for Miami visitors and locals who want to have some fun and get a great view. You can see it all from the sky from your boat or by paying for a service that will take you out for some fun. 

Everyone with parasailing experience will tell you it’s fun. But it can also be dangerous. When you’re parasailing, you:

  • Don’t have much control over where you go
  • Have zero control over where the boat goes
  • Cannot react to what other boats are doing
  • Have no way of avoiding fixed objects
  • Can’t control the wind and other weather impacts
  • Have zero control over how fast you go

That’s a lot to leave up to the “experts” especially when you’re not exactly sure of their experience or credentials. And that’s the people who are running a business. What happens if you go parasailing on a friend’s boat or a friend of a friend? 

When you put the parachute rig on, you’re putting your fate in someone else’s hands. You should always know proper safety practices before you try. 

Parasailing Accidents Happen All of the Time Despite Parasailing Laws

Whenever friends visit Miami, they always see people parasailing and remark on how much fun it looks. It is fun! We’re not saying it’s not. 

However, you only see people when they’re having a fantastic time. You don’t often get the chance to see the aftermath of a parasailing accident. 

Did you know that, over the past few decades, there have been thousands of parasailing accidents tied to hundreds of serious injuries and many deaths?

Think about that for a second. Thousands of mishaps and hundreds of people hurt. Not one of them thought that someone would go wrong when they signed up to parasail. 

Many Parasailing Accidents Are Preventable

The sad fact of the matter is that with parasailing, the problems are preventable. The same goes for many other water sports. Following basic parasailing laws and practices will save lives and stop people from getting hurt. 

Most people don’t know the parasailing risks. They strap on the harness sure that whoever is running the business or driving the boat knows what they are doing. 

However, a lot can go wrong. 

Bad Weather

Miami weather changes quickly, a problem if you’re hundreds of feet in the air over the water. Strong winds can push you into other parasailers, large boats, fixed objects, power lines and even buildings. Rain can affect the canopy, and choppy waters influence the boat’s pull. 

Falling from a high height into the water can be the same as if you fall on concrete. And if the parasail lands in the water – which is always to be avoided at all costs – a parasailer can drown when the parachute envelopes them and they are strapped in and pulled underwater. This is a common cause of parasailing deaths.

Poorly-Marked Waterways

Maneuvering around other boats, jet skis, banana boats, or any other vessel poses a safety risk. It’s even harder if hazards aren’t marked properly or markings are confusing. 

Equipment Malfunctions

When the stakes are high like they are in adventure sports, everything’s got to be right. There is little room for error.

A careless clip or a strap that’s not pulled tightly enough can spell disaster. You don’t know how old the equipment is or if the people getting you set up to parasail are doing it correctly. 

Poor Boat Safety

If you’re snugly in your harness and the weather is perfect, something can still go wrong with the tugboat. If they drive too fast, fail to see other boats oncoming, or make any other errors, the results can be fatal. 

Whoever is driving the boat may be distracted by friends and family who are with them. If they are running a business, they may want to get in and out as quickly as possible so they can pick up the next customer and make another dollar. 

Boat Traffic

If you’re on the water in Miami a lot, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of idiots. There always seems to be someone in a boat or on a jet ski doing something crazy and breaking parasailing laws.  Boating Under The Influence (BUI) is as big a problem on the water as DUI is on the roadways.

With the amount of water traffic in Miami, you can be all by yourself one minute, and the next thing you know, you’re in the middle of a bunch of kite surfers. Conditions can change quickly, so you always need to be on your toes. 

These are just some of the problems that can cause a parasailing incident. If something goes wrong, you need an attorney familiar with parasailing laws who can examine what happened and help you decide the best way forward. 

Understanding Parasailing Laws in Miami

For a long time there were very few laws, if any, that governed parasailing and other water sports. Eventually, after enough people were hurt, the Florida Legislature passed a parasailing law designed to keep people safe. 

Among other regulations, the laws dictate that parasailing companies have to carry at least $1 million in liability insurance per person and $2 million of insurance per incident, and they can’t operate whenever there are winds over 20 mph. 

Here are some other parasailing laws in place:

  • Operators must have a license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Every boat must have an observer aboard who is over 18 years old and whose job it is to watch the parasailer and local conditions. 
  • Parasailing boats must have a VHF marine radio and a weather radio
  • Harness, lines, and other system inspections are required. 
  • Tow lines must rate for more than 4,800 pounds.
  • Have braided tow lines and a low-stretch material shorter than 500ft.
  • No more than three people can parasail at a time.
  • Weather must be clear of any fog.
  • Every boat must maintain a weather log for every trip.
  • Operators must offer safety instructions to passengers before every trip. 

In the wake of a parasailing incident, understanding the laws and the correct safety practices is challenging. If someone is seriously injured, you’re not going to remember to ask for the boat operator’s insurance policy number or start to file an insurance claim

That’s where an experienced parasailing injury attorney comes in.

A seasoned legal team will have experience managing parasailing accidents. They will know what to do when something goes wrong. They can shoulder the administrative and evidence-gathering efforts while you deal with medical issues and other impacts of what happened. 

Your Rights  Related to Parasailing Laws After a Parasailing Accident

If you, a friend, or a family member needs help after a parasailing accident, you have the right to seek damages to cover any medical costs and other effects of any type of injury. 

Don’t just think that because there were strong winds that day, that no one is at fault for what happened. 

People and companies operating parasailing businesses must monitor weather, other boats, their equipment, and their customers’ understanding of safety rules before anyone goes up in the air. 

You can seek damages by filing a claim against a parasailing company, another boat driver that caused an accident, and other parties that contributed to your accident. 

Most businesses will indeed make you sign some sort of liability waiver before you go on board, but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is legally binding. You should resist signing anything that signs away your rights to recover for someone else’s negligence. You should also refuse to sign a waiver of jury trial, which many waivers try to do. Most of the time, you can pursue a claim successfully even if there was a signed waiver. A good lawyer will know how liability works and how to apply parasailing laws to win you justice. 

The team at Leighton Law has years of experience dealing with parasailing accident victims, and we’re confident we can help you with your case. We have represented families who have suffered injuries and lost loved ones due to parasailing accidents.  Our founding partner fought for the passage of the White-Miskell Act, Florida’s parasailing safety law that was created following the death of our client Amber May White.  Amber lost her life off the shore of Pompano Beach, Florida when the parasailing company operating her ride caused her death. We offer no-obligation consultations to hear what happened and talk to you about the best moves going forward. You can count on us to hold the people responsible for your accident accountable. 

 

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

LET’S GET STARTED