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Beware of the dangers of parasailing

Summer is a wonderful time for those of us lucky enough to live in coastal communities near the beach, such as Port Saint Lucie. Not only is this a destination mecca for friends and relatives who live in other states and inland area, we also have a plethora of activities we van enjoy while on a beach outing.

Safety is key for fun in the sun

There's no doubt that the ocean poses safety hazards that need to be mitigated to ensure an enjoyable time is had by all at the beach. But other than slathering on the suntan lotion and insisting that flotation devices be worn in the water or while boating, what can you do to stay safe while enjoying some of the more extreme beach sports?

Parasailing poses unique dangers

You've seen them at your favorite beach, flying hundreds of feet above the waves, having the time of their lives. Perhaps you've even been parasailing yourself and want to repeat the experience this summer.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued its initial investigative report about the parasailing industry in 2014. The report addressed the significant concerns the agency has regarding participants' safety in a largely unregulated industry where fatal and disabling accidents have been tied to the use of faulty equipment.

The Acting Chairman of the NTSB stated, "An afternoon of parasailing can have tragic results if something as simple as a weak towline, strong winds, or a worn harness causes a serious accident. It is crucial that operators are competent and aware of all the risks associated with parasailing."

As most Port Saint Lucie residents are aware, weather conditions along the beach can change from balmy to ominous within minutes. While that is manageable for those frolicking in the surf or sunbathing on the beaches, it can prove deadly to parasailers soaring 500 feet about the water.

Buffeted by strong air currents, they can become detached from the tethering rope and crash into the ocean with lethal force. Other dangers include tangling with the canopy and slamming into beachfront structures and high-tension power lines.

Industry standards are needed

Until and unless the industry becomes regulated with strict standards, parasailers themselves are the first line of defense against tragic accidents. If you plan on going parasailing, insist on examining the equipment for signs of wear and tear.

The NTSB determined that a knotted towline can decrease its strength by as much as 70 percent.

Seeking help after an accident

If you are involved in a parasailing accident, chances are good that you may need legal assistance pursuing a personal injury claim in order to be compensated monetarily for your damages and losses.

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