There’s nothing quite like parasailing. Soaring high up through the air over glistening waters provides an amazing sense of wonder and freedom. And most people find it offers a unique blend of peacefulness and thrill. As with any water-based activity, though, it can pose some dangers, especially to the inexperienced. But the risks can be effectively mitigated by using a reputable parasailing business and by following some basic beginner tips for parasailing.
Arranging your parasailing adventure through an established, responsible company takes much of the pressure off you to make sure everything’s in order. The staff will know what they’re doing. But it’s always best if you know how to keep yourself safe to reduce the chances of human error or other factors leading to trouble—whether just a scare or an injury.
So, before your parasailing excursion, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these beginner tips for parasailing safely. Then, have a blast!
Advice for Novice Parasailors
- Find a reputable parasailing company that’s been around a while, has a solid track record for safety, and has good reviews online; use one with a brick-and-mortar location rather than a transient beachfront operation
- Some parasailing companies allow young children to participate, but many experts recommend that only kids 14 and up take part in this activity
- Weight limits are important too; 125 to 450 pounds is widely considered the safest weight range for parasailing (keep in mind that this is combined weight for multiple passengers)
- Pay close attention to the safety presentation given before heading out; it should include an overview of what to expect and the risks, information about the equipment, instructions on using hand signals to communicate with the boat, and detailed landing and emergency instructions
- Only go parasailing when the weather forecast is favorable—ideally meaning a dry, breezy day; rain, high winds (over 15 mps), rough waters, fog, and lightning are dangerous when parasailing
- Parasailing must be done in an area free of rock formations, docks, piers, and other obstructions
- Don’t parasail with a boat that doesn’t look well maintained, or with any parasailing equipment that looks old or worn
- Look over your harness and tow ropes carefully for fraying or other signs of damage before strapping in
- You should never have a tow line over 800 feet long
- Don’t worry—you don’t have to hold on for dear life! Your body harness holds you in, so you can let go and relax
- Wear a life jacket, no matter how strong a swimmer you are
- The boat should remain a safe distance from shore, which is at least three times the length of the tow rope (so, if the tow rope is 600 feet long, the boat should stay at least 1,800 feet from the shoreline)
- Never go parasailing under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or with a boat operator or spotter who’s under the influence
- Don’t go parasailing if you’re afraid of heights (though you probably don’t need to be told that if you are)
- Remember your sun protection!