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by | Dec 17, 2014 | Personal Injury


Parasailing Accidents & Applicable Florida Law

We have a couple months until spring break is in full swing, but I still think it is prudent for all of us to be educated on this new law that should have a HUGE impact on northwest Florida. Since October 1, 2014, parasailing restrictions are now in place after Governor Rick Scott signed the White-Miskell Act. The law is a result of several deadly parasailing accidents that have occurred over the past few years. The White-Miskell Act is named after Kathleen Miskell, a Connecticut woman who died in 2012 after she fell from a harness while parasailing in Pompano Beach. And Amber White, who died in 2007 after a line snapped on a parasail, resulting in her hitting the roof of a hotel. Last year, two Indiana teens were seriously injured while parasailing in Panama City Beach. Operators are now required to log weather conditions before going on a trip, operators must be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard and limit operations by airports. Also, the measure prohibits commercial parasailing during sustained winds of 20 mph or higher, when gusts are more than 25 mph, when rain or fog diminishes visibility by less than a half mile or lightning storms are detected within seven miles. The law also requires operators maintain a valid license and carry a minimum insurance policy. Surprisingly before Governor Scott signed the bill, there was no state or federal regulations for parasailing.

The industry came on board with the regulations at the urging of Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, after two Indiana teens were videotaped last summer as they were seriously injured parasailing in Panama City Beach.

Bob West, director of public safety for the Santa Rosa Island Authority, said that although the law will be enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and not the Island Authority, he is happy to see the regulations take effect statewide. “There have been some real tragedies around the state, and there needed to be some guidelines,” West said. The FWC will work to educate commercial parasailing operators about the new regulations so that there are no surprises, said Stan Kirkland, an FWC spokesman.

If you would like to read the bill in its full context, click here:

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