Should Parasailing be Regulated?

The parasailing death of a tourist off Bradenton Beach June 28 raises questions about the safety and lack of regulation of the popular activity. My Fox Tampa Bay reported it is unclear whether the man was alive or dead when he hit the water after the boat towing him lost propulsion. His wife thinks she saw him waving after landing, but is distraught and unsure.

This is the second parasailing accident in the Bay Area in 10 months. Last September, another tourist was killed on Clearwater beach when her tow rope broke and she was dragged into a volleyball pole.

In the same incident her companion suffered a critical injury . After the accident, lawmakers began discussing legislation to help govern the currently unregulated industry. While operators must have a boating license and follow the same maritime laws as others to avoiding boating accidents, there are no parasail specific regulations.

Proposed earlier this year, Senate Bill 392 sought to impose insurance requirements, define unsafe weather conditions, limit tow rope lengths and require operators to stay 1800 feet offshore. It also mandated the use of quick release harnesses, which would prevent parasailers from becoming trapped. This bill died in the Banking and Insurance committee.

The Parasailing Safety Councilis based in the Orlando area and seeks to provide regulation where the government does not. According to their website, they are preparing to circulate comprehensive guidelines that unify all previous documents by the end of June.


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