On the one-year anniversary of a July 1, 2013, parasailing accident in Panama City Beach, Fla., that critically injured two Indiana teens, a state law that prohibits parasailing in certain weather conditions and requires companies to carry insurance went into effect.
Under the new law, parasailing companies can't operate if winds are 35 mph.
In conjunction with the law, the Coast Guard Auxiliary will begin offering free boat-safety inspections to local parasail operators. However, the auxiliary is not authorized to inspect the actual parasailing equipment, according to a WJHG news report. It has inspected four commercial parasailing vessels this year, according to the report.
"If there's something wrong, because they're auxiliary, can educate them versus issue a fine,” said Coast Guard Lieutenant Mike Clausen. “If we were to stop them on the water, being active-duty Coast Guard, we'd have to take an enforcement action against them."
Alexis Fairchild and Sidney Good were parasailing last July when the line to the boat snapped, sending them flying into a hotel balcony and onto a parked car. Both girls have had several surgeries and continue to recover.
Local attorney Wes Pittman said the law “is woefully inadequate because the speeds that are lawful to fly under this new legislation are still above the speed at which the parasailing lines snapped one year ago."
He added that parasail operators currently are not required to have equipment inspected.