Maria Sachs again files regulations for parasailing industry

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State Sen. Maria Sachs once again floats regulations of the parasailing industry, by refilling a bill in the Legislature known as the “White-Miskell Act.”

The Delray Beach Democrat proposed SB 320, which requires commercial parasail companies to carry $2 million in bodily injury liability insurance, as well as limit the times they can operate during certain weather conditions, reports the News Service of Florida.

The bill bans flying parasails during sustained winds 20 mph or higher, gusts more than 25 mph, less than a half mile visibility due to rain or fog, or if a lightning storm occurs within seven miles.

Similar measures failed in 2011, 2012, and 2013 because of strong opposition by the parasailing industry claimed increased insurance costs for the nearly 100 active commercial parasail operators along Florida’s beaches.

This time Senate President Don Gaetz gave the proposal more attention when he heard from his constituents who witnessed a pair of Indiana teens who were seriously injured July 1 in Panama City Beach, writes the News Service.

The teens were riding a parasail that broke loose from its tether; strong winds forced them into a building, finally landing on a number of cars in a parking lot. Witnesses recorded the incident on a video that went viral online.

SB 320 is named after 28-year-old Kathleen Miskell, who died August 2012 after falling from a parasailing harness off Pompano Beach, and Amber May White, a Belleview teen who died in 2007 after the parasail line snapped and she hit the roof of a hotel.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.