Is Parasailing Dangerous? 

Parasailing is an exhilarating water activity that allows participants to glide above the water while being towed by a boat. Parasailing is a common source of amusement on the beach enjoyed by both locals and tourists. According to the Parasail Safety Council, 3-5 million people parasail every year. Many choose to parasail in exotic and tropical ports while vacationing on a major cruise line such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Virgin Cruises, Disney Cruises, etc. While parasailing can provide breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences, it also comes with inherent risks, especially if done with a third party company not affiliated with your cruise ship. These risks include:

Equipment Malfunction: Parasailing equipment can fail due to poor maintenance, design flaws, or manufacturing defects, potentially leading to catastrophic accidents.

  • Weather-Related Hazards: Parasailing accidents are more likely to occur in adverse weather conditions, such as strong winds or storms, which can cause participants to lose control or crash into the water.
  • Operator Negligence: Inexperienced or negligent parasailing operators may not follow safety protocols, leading to accidents caused by improper towing speeds or releasing the towline prematurely.
  • Collisions: Parasailors may collide with each other or objects in the water or onshore, resulting in serious injuries.
  • Inadequate Training: Lack of proper training for participants can lead to difficulties in managing the parasail, increasing the risk of accidents.

“Ninety eight (95%) percent of all parasail fatalities result from the

parasailors(s) inability to escape/evacuate from a harness

passenger support system following an unplanned waterlanding in

high winds.” (Mark McCulloh, 2013)


Offshore Parasailing Expeditions and Cruise Ship Passengers

Cruise ship passengers often seek adventurous activities, including offshore parasailing expeditions offered as shore excursions. While these excursions promise thrills and stunning views, they also come with unique dangers:

  • Limited Oversight: Offshore parasailing operators in foreign countries may not adhere to the same safety standards as those in the United States, leading to increased risks.
  • Communication Barriers: Language barriers can make it challenging to understand safety instructions, ask questions, or express concerns during these excursions.
  • Legal Jurisdiction: Pursuing legal action in the event of an accident that occurs offshore can be complicated due to varying international laws, medical insurance, and regulations.

Advice to Avoid The Worst Case Scenario:

As a maritime personal injury attorney who has been holding cruise lines accountable for putting profits ahead of passenger safety for over three decades, one huge piece of advice I often tell passengers is to use companies sponsored by the cruise line. In the unfortunate and unlikely case that your parasailing adventure turns into an accident, your cruise line will only wait for you if you are using their parasailing company. Please also make sure you never disembark the vessel without your passport, in case you get injured and have to fly home instead. One final piece of advice would be to get travel insurance before your next cruise; this might make the difference between life and death, as many foreign hospitals will not treat you if you are not appropriately insured. 


Your Rights and Legal Options

If you or a loved one has been injured while parasailing or during an offshore parasailing expedition, it’s crucial to understand your rights and legal options:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health and well-being by seeking immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained.
  • Document the Incident: Gather as much evidence as possible, including photographs, witness statements, and accident reports.
  • Contact our team of attorneys: contact our experienced maritime personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate the complex legal landscape and determine liability.

Contact Aronfeld Trial Lawyers for Legal Guidance today.