New parasailing safety regulations in place

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The parasailing industry has been largely unregulated in Florida, but that’s about to change. The Governor has signed a bill that sets safety requirements for parasail companies.


Highly publicized accidents in other parts of the state have taken a toll in Destin. There are less parasail boats on the water this year. It’s a frustration to operators like Kevin Sherman of Just Chute Me. He says they already operate with higher safety standards than those just signed into law.


Blue skies, no clouds, light wind…..It’s a perfect day for parasailing. Ellen Martin and her family from Houston have done it twice.


“It’s very peaceful, very serene, feels like you’re floating, ” said Ellen Martin.


Until now, Florida didn’t spell out minimum safety standards for parasail operators.


“You know our guys check the wind every time they fly,” said Kevin Sherman.


The new requirements won’t change anything here. No flying in sustained winds of more than 20 miles per hour, or when gusts are higher than 25. No flying with less than a half-mile of visibility or when there’s lightning within seven miles.


“I’m glad, gives the FWC maybe some bite to the industry. ‘Cause right now, they don’t know a whole bunch about our boats,” Sherman said.


Sherman says even with the new law, he has a concern about what he calls “uninspected vessels.”


“Six pack, what they call six pack boat, they’re supposed to carry six passengers or less. Their boats are not inspected by the Coast Guard or FWC.”


All parasail companies will be required to have liability insurance of at least a million dollars; many insurers require additional inspections and equipment upgrades. Passengers told us at least with this crew, they’re not scared to fly.


“No, no, not at all, I trust these guys,” said Ellen Martin.


The law won’t make a difference this summer, it takes effect October 1.


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