Florida Parasailing Accidents Reveal an Unregulated Industry
Parasailing is a summertime activity that Florida visitors love to include in their vacation plans. This time last year, what started as a fun, adventurous activity ended in tragedy when two Indiana youth were reportedly injured after their parasail broke loose. According to an ABC News article, the young women were vacationing off the coast of Panama City. A strong wind broke the parasail loose and carried it away from its intended course, causing the women to hit several parked cars and power lines, before being slammed into the side of a condominium building.
A statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said that a storm developed while the women were in the air. “Winds kept the chute aloft and several attempts to winch the riders back onto the vessel failed,” the statement said. “The anchor was set to keep the boat from being pulled onto shore. The towline detached and the riders were helpless to control the chute.”
According to the article, there were 33 parasailing accidents within the state of Florida between 1998 and 2013. Six of those incidents reportedly ended in deaths. Florida legislators previously considered a bill to place stricter regulations on parasailing businesses. However, the legislation did not pass, reportedly due to major opposition from industry participants. Aquatic Adventures, the company that owned the boat from the reported accident, was allegedly one of the major opponents.
An Unregulated Industry
Amidst growing reports of accidents and significant injuries, the National Transportation Safety Board instituted an investigation into the industry, which reportedly resulted in a recommendation for more regulations. CBS Miami reports that NTSB has found several reasons for the increase in accidents from this recreational activity, which include:
- Vessel operators who do not adequately respond to weather complications;
- Inadequate equipment usage; and
- Compromised strength of rope between the boat and the parasail.
The parasailing industry is not under any federal regulations. There are no requirements for equipment safety standards or training of operators. The NTSB reportedly recommends that the United States Coast Guard create a licensing program for operators. The Federal Aviation Administration and the Association of State Boating Law Administration are also mentioned in the report as possible regulatory bodies.
With an absence of federal standards, it can be challenging to prove liability when parasailing accidents do occur. However, when there are injuries, someone needs to take responsibility for the financial ramifications that follow. Without statutory regulations, establishing liability is often done through the presentation of industry standards, which may require expert witnesses in the parasailing industry. Your case may also involve an examination of the equipment used during the accident. These tasks can be difficult if you are not skilled in the practice of law. That is why the assistance of an experienced lawyer is so vital to the success of your case.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a parasailing accident, contact the legal team of Miami based Pita & Del Prado for knowledgeable and skillful representation. Call the office today at 305-670-2889 for a free consultation.