North Idaho

New regulations for parasailing industry

New regulations for parasailing industry

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Parasailing is a popular water activity during the summer. But now, the national transportation safety board is asking the U.S. Coast Guard to regulate it.

A year ago, two teens were critically injured in a parasailing accident in Panama City, Florida. Now the National Transportation Safety Board is saying they want to see parasailing regulated.

"I think there is a lot of people that have been in the industry for so many years unregulated they tend to form their own types of regulations," said Jamin Rodriguez, captain of Coeur d'Alene Parasail.

In the 11 years and 20,000 people who have parasailed with him there's never been an accident.

"I don't have any incident where anybody has come close to being hurt," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez sides with NTSB, saying most accidents are caused by faulty equipment.

"I don't know what or where to start with regulations outside of making sure you're a license captain but it would have to start with the equipment and making sure that equipment is retired when it's meant to be retired," said Rodriguez. "That's probably the biggest issue in the industry."

According to the Parasail Safety Council, the number of parasailing accidents is relatively low. Between 1982 to 2012, an estimated 73 people died, with 429 seriously injured, all within the course of taking 130 million rides.

Rodriguez says to use your best judgment.

"You have to check out their equipment. If you ask them if their equipment is good they're always going to say yes," said Rodriguez.

He says there are several things to look for before committing to launch yourself up 800 feet in the air.

"You can see an old parachute, the colors are faded. The harnesses if they look like they've been on the street getting run over all day then they're probably unsafe," he explained. "If they suggest you don't have to go with a life jacket, you know, there's another sign that this might not be the parasail outlet you should be parasailing with."

Rodriguez believes as long as other parasailing operators are practicing similar safety strategies there is no safer water activity.

"I have a five year old and a two and a half year old and they've been up several times. I don't feel like I should be taking anybody up if I can't take my own kids," said Rodriguez.