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The Lake News Online
  • Missouri parasailing operations already following NTSB recommendations

  • Parasail operators nationwide may have new standards to answer to if the U.S. Coast Guard implements recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.
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  • Parasail operators nationwide may have new standards to answer to if the U.S. Coast Guard implements recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.
    For an owner of a parasail company with offices in Missouri and Florida, the new standards will not change how he runs his business. Neil Newton, owner of Paradise Parasail, already follows the standards proposed by the NTSB.
    Paradise Parasail has been operating at the Lake of the Ozarks since 1992.
    "All the changes they are recommending and making have already been in place in Missouri for years," Newton said. "For us, it does not change how we operate." He added that the Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Division does a great job in enforcing the standards.
    The NTSB performed a special investigation into parasailing and released a report including six recommendations made to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in mid-June.
    The investigation's executive summary notes, "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."
    The main focus of the standards are to require a Coast Guard licensed captain on board the vessel when parasailing, require owners to carry an insurance policy with a million dollar aggregate and not to allow parasailing when sustained wind speed is more than 20 mph.
    "The more wind you have, it increases the risk of something happening," Newton said.
    Just like any other adventurous activity, parasailing comes with risks. The proposed standards are designed to help decrease that risk.
    According to Newton, the Missouri Highway Patrol already enforces the rule that requires anyone operating a parasailing or commercial vessel have a Coast Guard licensed captain on board.
    Newton serves as the chairman of commercial operations of parasailing for the American Society for Testing and Materials and said the standards have been three years in the making. The ASTM has developed a weather standard that is currently recognized by the Coast Guard and is working on operations, equipment and crew standards.
    Safety is the NTSB's and Newton's top priority.
    States such as Missouri enforce the standards already on a state level but some parasailing businesses are in states that do not enforce them on a state or local level. That is where this proposal comes in. If the Coast Guard implements the standards, they will be enforced nationwide.

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