Florida Legislature Passes Parasailing Regulations

By: Joe Hellriegel; Associated Press News Email
By: Joe Hellriegel; Associated Press News Email

News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: May 1, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Parasailing in Florida could be subject to safety guidelines under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature.

The Florida Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to regulate the popular water sport in which people are lifted into the air by a motor boat.

The industry has received national attention in recent years with several deaths and accidents, but previous attempts to regulate parasailing have been rejected.

The bill (SB 320) heads to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott.

One of the main requirements is that parasailing would be banned if there is a sustained wind speed of more than 20 miles per hour.

In 2012, Kathleen Miskell died after her parasail harness broke and she plummeted as much as 200 feet into the Atlantic Ocean.

By: Joe Hellriegel

The Senate Community Affairs Committee looked at Senate bill 320, also named the White-Miskell Act. It aims to stop parasailing during winds over 20 mph or when a known lightning storms within 7 miles of the operation. The parasailing company must also have a minimum of $1 million in insurance.

This comes after Kathleen Miskell, a 28-year-old tourist from Connecticut and 15-year-old, Amber white, both died on separate parasailing accident in Broward County. Two parasailing accidents also happened last year in Panama City Beach.

"There is over 150 commercial operators throughout the state of Florida. It's a wonderful sport, and hope they continue and prosper but they must do it with these safety regulations otherwise people are not going to trust them anymore," said Senator Maria Sachs.

The bill did pass unanimously and will be heard on the senate floor.

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