You may have decided to take a long weekend getaway to Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach. You and your spouse are going to rent jet skis, but you are also going to try parasailing for the first time, although you are a bit uneasy about it. Keep in mind that in addition to swimming, every kind of water activity, including deep sea fishing or simply cruising around in a power boat, comes with risk, but risk is part of life; it figures into all kinds of enjoyable activities. You have to approach water sports with a healthy dose of respect, always keeping safety in mind.
Jet ski safety
In South Carolina, you are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life vest when onboard a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski. You cannot operate your jet ski between sunset and sunrise. In addition, you are prohibited from crossing the wake of another vessel within 200 feet of that vessel, and you cannot leave the water completely as you cross.
A reputable parasailing company will give you a detailed safety briefing. This should include information as to what you can expect of the activity, a rundown about the equipment and the risks. You should be taught the use of hand signals in case you want to end the flight before it is scheduled to be over. Most important, you should be instructed on the proper position for your landing, especially in choppy seas or high winds, so as to prevent bodily injury. You should also be provided with survival techniques and rescue instructions in case of equipment failure.
The fear factors
If you are not accustomed to the speed and maneuverability of a jet ski, you might consider going out in a boat instead. If you have a fear of heights, or if you panic easily, you will probably not be comfortable parasailing. Age limits should also be considered in case children are with you. Anyone under 16 who operates a watercraft must have completed an approved boating course. As to the thrill of flying high above the water, experts recommend that parasailers be no younger than 14.
The possibility of injuries
U.S. Coast Guard statistics from 2014 show that there were 4,064 recreational boating accidents that year, which included 610 deaths and 2,678 injuries. The types of vessels most often involved were open motorboats and personal watercraft. Collision between vessels of various types was the primary cause of such accidents.
If you are injured in a parasailing accident or while aboard a personal watercraft, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages that might include medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress and more. While it is hoped that you and your spouse will enjoy your weekend getaway out on the water, keep in mind that an experienced attorney is standing by to help you navigate any rough seas that might impact your fun.