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Parasailing Safety Under Review After Tragic Accident

Alexandrea Messner1 year ago

Last month, Dawn Strickland died after falling out of her harness while parasailing in South Padre Island. The coast guard is currently looking into several factors surrounding her death.

Parasailor’s Death Sparks Call to Action

The Chief Warrant Officer on the case, Todd Michael, stated that while weather was the first factor to be examined, investigators will also be reviewing the operators of the parasailing service as well as the equipment used.

Although parasailing safety was already under review due to the fact that no regulations exist, Stricklands death has reinforced the need for such a review. According to a government issued safety report on the matter, “No federal regulations or guidelines establish specific training or certification for parasailing operators. There is no requirement for inspection of the parasailing equipment, and no requirement to suspend operations during inclement or unsuitable weather conditions.”

In response to the lack of regulation, the Coast Guard plans to launch Operation Safe Chute to ensure the safety of parasailors. The operation will not oversee parachutes or specific equipment, since there are no guidelines to follow. Instead, the Coast Guard will be inspecting the parasailing boats for general safety violations.

Parasailing Accident Statistics

The following information was provided by

  • Currently, there are roughly 242 commercial parasail concessions and 627 commercial parasail tow vessels operating in the U.S. and U.S. territories.
  • Nearly 5 million people take part in parasailing every year.
  • It is estimated that 95 percent of all parasailing deaths occur due to parasailors’ inability to escape from their harness following an unplanned water landing.
  • There are no federal regulations or equipment inspections governing parasailing guidelines.


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