Parasailing offers visitors to our beautiful South Florida coast a unique way to appreciate the sun, sand, and surf of Palm Beach County. While parasailing accidents are rare, they do happen.
Recently, a young woman died while parasailing in Pompano Beach. Her harness broke and she dropped almost 200 feet into the water. The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the accident.
The Pompano Beach parasailing accident occurred on Wednesday, August 15, while twenty-eight-year-old Kathleen Miskell of Connecticut was vacationing in Pompano Beach with her husband. The two were parasailing together on a trip operated by Waveblast Water Sports when Kathleen's harness broke. She plunged into the water. Kathleen died from her injuries.
The NSTB investigates parasailing accidents to look for recurring safety issues. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard are also investigating the accident.
Currently, there are few safety regulations governing parasailing in Florida. The operator of the boat must have a license and the Coast Guard must approve the vessel. But there are no regulations governing equipment and safety inspections are not required.
This is not the first parasailing death in Pompano Beach. In 2007, 15-year-old Amber White died when her parasail rope snapped. She and her sister were thrown onto the roof of a nearby hotel.
Visitors to Florida assume that if an activity is offered to tourists, it must be safe. This is not true. A Coast Guard study lists 59 parasailing accidents resulting in 64 injuries and three deaths within a ten-year span. Florida Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Sunny Isles, hopes to prevent similar accidents. She has been fighting to pass a bill that would require a minimum age for parasail boat operators and would regulate the distance between a parasail boat and the shore. Her bill has been defeated four times.