New parasailing regulations blew into Florida this October with stricter laws on liability coverage and weather monitoring. Called The White-Miskell Act, the new law was created partially in response to the 2012 death of a young woman who lost her life when her harness broke in high winds and she plummeted 200 feet into the Atlantic Ocean. It also is meant to memorialize a pair of sisters who were killed due to high winds snapping their parasail rope.
The new requirements target holes in the parasailing industry related to the insurance operators must carry. As of October 1, they must maintain a bodily injury liability policy of at least $1 million for an annual amount of $2 million. This insurance must be issued through a state-licensed provider and it must be available for proof at all times. If a customer requests insurance information from the operator, it must furnish the insurance provider’s name and the policy number.
In addition to the stricter requirements governing insurance, operators now must monitor the weather far more closely. In a state known for its sudden storms and occasional hurricane-force winds, Florida operators need to be careful of the effects of this weather as it can easily cost a customer his or her life, as was the case for the young women honored by the bill’s moniker.
To monitor weather closely, all parasailing vessels must have a VHF marine transceiver aboard and another electronic device that is able to receive information from the National Weather Service, including current conditions and forecasts. By equipping boats with this high tech equipment, parasail operators can stay abreast of sudden and dangerous weather conditions. In the event of sustained wind of more than 20 MPH or gusts more than 25 MPH, parasailing operators must immediately cease all activities.
Parasailing can be a dangerous activity and not every operator takes the necessary precautions. If you have been injured in a parasailing activity, contact the Sarasota County personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni & Walsh to discuss your legal options.