Generally considered to be a fun activity, parasailing can be highly exhilarating and is viewed as a character building experience by many. While it is no longer regarded as an extreme sport like bungee jumping or free fall parachuting, for example, it still carries a certain risk of being injured by accident.
Tow lines and parasailing accidents
Injuries by parasailing accident are sometimes caused by tow lines snapping, leaving parasailing tourists unattached to the towing boat and subsequently at risk not only of plummeting into water from great heights, but being pushed by winds towards land before falling.
Being dragged by unattached parachutes
Even after falling, there is a risk of wind catching the parachute and dragging passengers across water (or land) for some time before they can be rescued. Either way, depending on the height from which the chute falls, resulting personal injuries can range from bruises to broken limbs, serious head/back injuries and even death. Depending on circumstances, drowning is also a possible outcome.
Injuries by harness failure
On other occasions, tourists may be injured by harness failures. Here, too, injuries are inflicted predominantly by the impact on water and may vary in severity depending on the heights involved. Again, a risk of drowning may exist, depending on the severity of injuries sustained in the first place; currents, strength of swimming ability and other factors. Injuries by faulty parachutes tend to be far more rare, especially among reputable operators, who will regularly check and maintain their equipment to prevent potential accidents involving parasailing.
High winds and parasailing injuries
Reputable operators will not take tourists out to parasail during high winds, or even when there is a possibility of weather changes. The risk of being pushed over land; chutes flapping to the extent of collapsing, combined with the risk of additional stress on tow lines and harnesses causing failures is too great for serious operators to risk.
Staying safe while parasailing
In essence, before taking the chance of flying like a bird, tourists need to make sure the parasailing operator they are about to use has a good reputation and a low accident record. If the equipment looks dubious, services are offered during strong winds and/or life jackets are not provided, it is best to stay on firm ground.