Welcome to the
Parasail Safety Council Website
The worlds premiere source for parasail information
Current Parasail Operations Data:
There are approximately (238) commercial parasail concessions in the US and its
territories operating (637+) commercial parasail tow vessels.
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.
Approximately (3.8) million people enjoy the sport of parasailing each year
Effectively there are no federal regulations governing parasailing operations,
equipment inspection and replacement or standards
Minor Injuries - no hospitalization
Serious injuries requiring hospitalization
Fatalities - Passenger support equipment failure
Fatalities - Inability to escape from the passenger support system
Q. Why doesn't the Parasail Safety Council accident data match the government's?
A. Parasail accident data from a single government source, who has specific reporting guidelines, does not
accurately reflect the total number of occurrences. In fact the majority of accidents over the past thirty years went
unreported for many reasons. Some didn't meet the government's reporting requirements, while many others were
inadvertently or intentionally not reported. The lack of reporting has created government statistics which mislead the
public and others seeking accurate risk assessment like hotels, insurance underwriters, state and federal risk
managers. It has also created a false sense of security that parasailing is safe as operated with the harness system
vs. the Gondola when the scientific and investigative data reveals a different conclusion. Additionally, PSC’s
accident data is compiled from numerous sources, such as; local, state and federal government accident reports,
interviews, insurance claims, civil lawsuits, and industry insiders; as well as, accident investigations which PSC
personnel have been involved in. Having multiple sources of data compensates for an industry which is not
regulated by any one single entity. As such, PSC’s results provides a much clearer picture.
An in-depth study looks at the composition of fatal parasail accidents.
2013 by Mark McCulloh, Parasail.org
The most perilous accidents begin as a tow line separation from the towing vessel in high winds resulting in an unplanned water
landing. Why are they perilous? To answer that question, one must understand the role of the “passenger support systems” and
“parasail canopy size” selections; and the dynamics involved in those choices. First, the parasail canopy has the unique ability to
create a powerful lifting force when towed. This attribute makes the entire sport of parasailing possible, but it also has its down side.
The parasail canopy cares little whether its towing people through the air or water. A parasail canopy separated from its tow line can
remain inflated by the wind towing its passenger through the water and placing them in harm's way. When selecting a parasail canopy
size operators who use the harness system, are considering only the canopy's ability to lift the passenger(s) and their ability to control
or guide it during the ride; they do not consider the consequences as a result of towline failure in high winds. During the sports
infancy in the 1970s and early 80’s, the 24 and 26’ foot canopy was the largest canopy recommended for the body harness because it
would deflate during a line separation / waterlanding in high winds and rough ocean conditions.
Considering that few operators still use the smaller (safer) canopies today since increasing the harness passenger payload, it is safe to
say that the original body harness was never designed to be operated with multiple passenger payloads and a parasail that was
unable to self-deflate during and emergency waterlandings during a line separation / waterlanding in high winds and rough ocean
This same threat is what inspired the introduction of the multi-passenger Gondola in 1985. The Gondola was the answer to emergency
waterlandings in high winds and rough ocean conditions by allowing the parasailors to easily evacuate with minimal instructions and
without physical restraints. Because of these new design safety features, it was safe to use larger parasails and increased ocean
Operational Comparisons Gondola Harness
Minimum / Maximum Parasailors Weight
Easy To Operate - Just sit and go!
Turn Around Time Efficiency
Custom Graphics and Colors
Unequal Passenger Weight Capability
Night Parasailing w/ Neon Lighting
100% Safety record
Distinctive Brand Recognition
Overall Safety Comparisons
Bodily Protection during flight deck landings
Serious Injuries caused during deck landings
Bodily Protection during unforeseen onshore landings
Serious Injuries or Death during on-shore landings
Bodily Protection during high speed waterlandings
Can prevent drowning during an emergency waterlandings
Safe Evacuation during emergency waterlandings
Serious Injuries caused by whiplash during flight
Safety Study completed by Independent Testing Facility
Vetted in both State and Federal Courts
0 - 850lbs 90 - 400lbs
15 secs 2 mins
A scientific safety study was performed by Failure Analysis of Exponent Engineering Inc., a world renown engineering consultancy
firm. In 1988, a safety study was performed on the Gondola under the direction of Dr. Robert Kadlec Ph.D.,P.E. a leading
Aeronautical Engineer who concluded that the "Gondola" sufficiently secures parasailor(s) while in flight "even if unconscious"
without the need for additional restraints which would prevent a safe evacuation during emergency water landings". The
findings by Kadlec and his team together with historical flight data establishes that the Gondola was safe for its particular use,
and is a “Liability Free” product.
Passenger Support System Safety and Performance Comparisons
Gondola Passenger Support System Safety Study