Politics

Parasail Bill Soaring Through Senate

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Parasail 625 (Source: www.ovationvacations.com)

Parasail 625 (Source: http://www.ovationvacations.com)

Politics

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A long-sought effort to impose regulations on the parasailing industry glided Monday through its second Senate committee.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously supported a measure that would prohibit parasailing operations when sustained winds are 20 mph or higher or when lightning storms are within seven miles.

The bill, which comes after similar proposals repeatedly failed in past legislative sessions, also would require parasailing operators to have at least $1 million in liability coverage.

The proposal is named the “White-Miskell Act” after two people killed while parasailing in Florida in recent years. However, the proposed regulations gained support after two Indiana teens were videotaped last summer being seriously injured while parasailing in Panama City Beach, which is within the district of Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

The bill, sponsored by Delray Beach Democrat Maria Sachs, has one more committee appearance before reaching the Senate floor.

The House version of the bill has gone through two committees without opposition and still needs to go to the Regulatory Affairs Committee. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates there are about 100 active commercial operators in Florida, mostly along the coasts, with one at Walt Disney World on Bay Lake in Orange County.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

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