NTSB wants more regulations on parasailing

An Atlanta woman dies after being dragged across the beach in Clearwater in 2010.

A North Carolina man dies after falling 800 feet into the water near Longboat Key in June 2011.

And last year in Panama City Beach, teenagers Alexis Fairchild and Sidney Good were critically injured after slamming into the side of a building.

All were parasailing accidents. The state responded with Senate Bill 320, which became law and now prohibits parasailing when winds reach a sustained 20 mph, lightning is within 7 miles, and requires operators to carry $1 million in liability insurance.

But federal regulators say that's not enough.

The National Transportation Safety Board says human error is the main cause of parasailing accidents in part because there is no regulation. The agency has now declared parasailing "risky" and wants the Coast Guard to require operators to be licensed.

Here in Tampa Bay parasailing is big business.

"It is a law we have practiced at Gator Parasail for many years now," said Terry Ryan, co-owner of Gator Parasail on John's Pass. His company has always been cautious and welcomes tighter restrictions.

"We have wind monitoring devices on both our parasail boats. We also use live radar back at the base location here," Ryan said.

The increased safety effort is good news for parasailing enthusiasts because in the past 20 years, more than 130 million trips have killed at least 73 people and left more than 430 injured.


Read the NTSB parasailing report

Crash leaves teens in critical condition

Senate panels OK parasailing rules

Woman parasailing falls, dies


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