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House and Senate bills would regulate parasailing

Posted Nov 27, 2013 by James L. Rosica

Updated Nov 27, 2013 at 02:48 PM

Bills now have been filed in both chambers of the Legislature to regulate commercial parasailing in Florida.

State Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, D-Deerfield Beach, announced Wednesday she filed a House companion to a bill already filed in the Senate by Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach.

The bills, HB 347 and SB 320, are identical.

The measures would require commercial parasailing operators to have insurance and a license from the U.S. Coast Guard. They would prohibit parasailing in bad weather conditions and require new safety equipment.

Six people have died in parasailing accidents since 2000 and 20 people have been seriously injured, according to reports. A legislative review found that high winds or sudden gusts contributed to nearly half of the accidents.

This summer, two teenaged Indiana tourists were hurt when a tether broke loose while they were parasailing in Panama City. They slammed into buildings and crashed into cars.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, later asked parasailing operators to meet with Sachs, who previously sponsored legislation that died in committee.

Clarke-Reed said she spoke to more than 200 parasailing operators at an industry meeting in St. Petersburg on Nov. 7.