Parasailing Death in Florida Renews a Push
MIAMI — The sight of beachgoers flying hundreds of feet above a boat while dangling from a parachute
is a common one up and down Florida’s coast.
With as many as 120 parasailing companies operating during the peak season, Florida has more people
getting strapped into harnesses and soaring over crystalline waters than any other state. Few of those
parasailors — many of them tourists — know that the industry in Florida, and almost everywhere else in
the country, is not regulated, leaving most owners to operate at their own discretion.
But the death last week of Kathleen Miskell, a 28-year-old Connecticut woman who dropped from her
harness and plummeted nearly 200 feet into the ocean off Pompano Beach, has led to renewed calls for
greater supervision of Florida’s parasailing industry.
“There is nobody that regulates or restricts the industry at this time,” said Lamar Fisher, the mayor of
Pompano Beach, where two people have died in parasailing accidents since 2007. “People who go up
don’t think about safety issues and harnesses; they assume the equipment is safe and inspected and
ready to go.”
Ms. Miskell, who was on vacation, died Aug. 15 after she and her husband went on a tandem parasail
operated by Wave Blast. The two were harnessed to the same boat, but Ms. Miskell somehow slipped
out and tumbled into the ocean as her husband watched from above. The boat operators found Ms.
Miskell in cardiac arrest when they scooped her from the water.