You may be looking forward to a South Carolina vacation that is focused on water sports such as parasailing. If you have never participated in this activity, you are in for a thrill, but be aware of the risks involved.
Parasailing is a unique experience, and it requires due diligence. Making sure you understand the safety standards and how the equipment should work will give you confidence. You want to do as much as you can to avoid injury.
The major cause of accidents
Safety risks range from bad weather to equipment problems. Your parasail operator should check the forecast and be alert to the possibility of hazardous wind conditions. Meanwhile, you should ask questions to determine whether the equipment and parasailing gear is well maintained. Keep in mind that the towline is the weak spot responsible for many injuries and deaths. Tying knots in the rope is a dangerous practice that weakens it and could lead to disaster.
The Coast Guard weighs in
In 2013, following a number of harrowing accidents and fatalities that occurred within a seven-year period, the United States Coast Guard called on the parasailing industry to develop standards that would maximize safety and prevent casualties. They developed a “Know your ROPES” safety summary designed to remind operators that most injuries and fatalities involve tow rope issues. It also urges operators to monitor weather conditions, prepare for emergencies and ensure that all equipment is in good working order.
A different kind of law
You want to feel confident that your operator has sufficient experience, but do not depend on a parasail worker alone to help you avoid an accident. Become familiar with the safety standards, check the equipment and make sure you understand the steps your operator will take if an emergency situation arises.
In the event of injury, remember that accidents on the water fall under maritime law, and they might also be subject to state regulations. A maritime attorney can help you understand how such laws apply to your situation.