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Protecting Resort Guests: Parasailing Safety Bill Passes Florida Senate…Now On To House starstarstarstarstar

Ending The Annual Parasailing Carnage: Parasailing Bill Passes Florida Senate; Now On To The Florida House

The Florida Legislature inched closer to providing some protections for vacationers who choose to enjoy parasailing in the Florida waters. Senate Bill 320 sponsored by Sen. Sachs and co-sponsored by Senators Margolis and Sobel provides minimum standards for parasailing safety. The bill passed and is now in the Florida House as House Bill 347. This legislation comes after 8 years of attempts to regulate this industry following annual carnage due to parasailing catastrophes. Each year people visiting Florida – as well as the State’s own citizens – are seriously injured or killed while parasailing because of inept, negligent or untrained operators. The bill sets minimum standards and requires liability insurance, something most of the typical fly-by-night operations skip. The initial bill, known as the “Amber May Act,” was named for Amber May White, who was killed in 2007 when the parasil she and her sister were riding broke loose in high winds and catapulted the sisters into a building. Amber May, 15, was killed. She was buried on what would have been her 16th birthday. Her sister, Crystal, sustained traumatic brain injuries. Leighton Law’s John Elliott Leighton represented the family and the girls’ mother, Shannon Kraus. Shannon and Leighton have tirelessly fought each year for passage of some protections for victims of parasailing injuries. They have met with legislators, spoken with the public and interacted with the media. Leighton has published articles and lectured extensively on parasailing safety measures and litigation arising out of resort and water sports and, specifically, parasailing. Since the White’s tragedy there have been a slew of other parasiling deaths and injuries. The new bill has been named the “White-Miskell Act” to reflect yet another victim whose family wants to prevent more carnage. It is our hope that this bill will pass and be signed into law as a starting point for resort and vacationer safety.