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Understanding Florida’s Parasailing Law

A law putting strict requirements and regulations on parasailing operators in Florida has gone into effect. The law is titled The White-Miskell Act, is named after two victims of parasailing accidents in Florida, and was sponsored by State Sen. Maria Sachs.

The law states that no commercial parasailing shall be allowed in Florida’s waters unless the vessel owner has:

  • Liability insurance in the amount of $1 million per person and $2 million per incident.
  • Proof of insurance be made available to all customers who ask and that the proof of insurance include the insurance carriers information and the policy number.
  • That the vessel owner obtains a license issued by United States Coast Guard.
  • That an observer over the age of 18 be on the boat at all times to monitor and observe. This person can’t be the boat’s operator.
  • That the support system, including harness, and lines are inspected and approved.
  • That the tow line is rated for more than 4,800 pounds, is braided and is low stretch material and less than 500 feet in length.
  • That the vessel is equipped with a VHF marine radio as well as a separate weather radio.

Additionally, the law regulates the operation of commercial parasailing as follows:

  • No more than three parasailers at one time.
  • Operation can’t be more than 1,800 feet from shore.
  • Operation can’t be within 400 feet of a person, an ancored vessel or structure.
  • Operation can’t be within 100 feet of a market intracoastal waterway channel.
  • Operation must be between the times of 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.
  • There must not be any fog and sustained winds can’t be more than 20 mph.
  • Vessel shall maintain a weather log for each and every trip documenting weather conditions.
  • Each passenger shall be provided detailed safety instructions before each trip begins.

If the operator violates any of these new rules they are guilty of a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree.

Author: James D. Payer, Attorney

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