Off we go, into the wild blue yonder?
Parasailing: A neat experience for a vacationer or an industry in need of regulation?
[Photo courtesy of wikiepedia commons].
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a report entitled Parasailing Safety today. The NTSB issued this report in response to several accidents on parasailing vessels.
Per the Executive Summary:
This special investigation report examines parasailing accidents in the United States and its territories, and identifies several areas where the risk associated with parasailing may be mitigated. Each year, an estimated 3 to 5 million people in the United States participate in parasailing; however, no federal regulations or guidelines establish specific training or certification for parasailing operators. There is no requirement for inspection of the parasailing equipment, and no requirement to suspend operations during inclement or unsuitable weather conditions. As this report will describe, passengers seeking to enjoy the thrill, adventure, and panoramic views of parasailing risk becoming accident victims. Due to the nature of parasailing, accidents usually result in either serious injury or death.
This investigation report strives to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities associated with parasailing through recommendations that will improve safety for parasailing passengers and operators. The report also examines operations, equipment, and the various dynamic forces that affect parasailing.
As a result of this investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board makes new safety recommendations to the United States Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
The NTSB made several recommendations to the regulating agencies. They are:
To the United States Coast Guard:
1. Implement a specialized license endorsement that all holders of a valid Coast Guard merchant mariner credential would be required to obtain before conducting parasailing operations. (M-14-11)
2. Incorporate by reference ASTM International’s parasailing standards to govern all parasailing operations. (M-14-12)
To the Federal Aviation Administration:
3. In accordance with 14 United States Code 141 and 49 United States Code 106(m), request assistance from the Coast Guard to enforce existing Federal Aviation Administration regulations applicable to parasailing operations. (A-14-064)
4. Review all existing regulations and special provisions that are intended to separate parasailing and aircraft operations, and take appropriate action to ensure that these directives are in harmony and consistently applied nationwide to reduce the risk of midair collisions. (A-14-065)
5. Work with the Coast Guard to resolve conflicts between (a) the existing Federal Aviation Administration special provision that gives aircraft right-of-way over parasailing vessels, and (b) the existing international and inland navigation rules that imply that parasailing vessels are restricted in their ability to maneuver and, therefore, should have the right-of-way. (A-14-066)
To the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators:
6. Draft a model act that may be used by your membership as a framework for state legislation to reduce the risk associated with parasailing. (M-14-13).
One interesting finding of the NTSB. Knots, including the ubiquitous bowline, make a line (rope) weaker. Bowline is way easier to tie than the sheepshank, as Richard Dreyfuss well knows: