Bill rejected for parasailing safety regulations, businesses stick to self-regulation

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Visit Palm Beach parasailing crew does its best to help parasailers feel safe.

"All our equipment we check every morning before we start. We keep that up to date," said captain Kyle Ewing.

He gives all his riders a run down of safety procedures before they are lifted hundreds of feet in the air.

"I've flown over 15,000 people and haven't even had a skinned knee," said Ewing.

Ewing says he keeps valid insurance, checks his equipment and cancels trips when weather is less than ideal.

"We make sound decisions. We don't go out when it's too rough or too windy," said Ewing.

But State Senator Maria Sachs wants more safety regulation for the parasailing industry. In a proposed bill, she hoped to require that parasail companies obtain insurance, cancel trips if weather conditions are unfavorable, brief customers about safety and have regular equipment checks.

This is after more than a dozen parasailing injuries, and multiple fatalities over the last decade in Florida. Most recently, a woman was killed in Pompano Beach in a parasailing accident during the summer of 2012.

The bill was shot down at the state house.

Sachs said Wednesday that lawmakers were opposed to more government regulation.

The Visit Palm Beach crew agreed. "We self regulate anyway. Our equipment will never show wear," said Visit Palm Beach Marketing Director Leigh Kendall.

She understands people's concern for more safety.

"Whenever something happens and people are worried. We have to reassure people that safety is our number one priority," Kendall said.

Parasailer Steven Reep says he isn't too bothered by a lack of regulation. "You get a little nervous before you go up... I guess I'd feel safer but I'd say it's just as safe now."

Sachs says she will propose the bill again next session, but with some changes. She said she hopes to veer away from government regulation, and just ask the industry to require insurance.

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