Association News

ASTM Parasailing Standard improves safety in FL as new law.

Press Release Summary:

Oct 20, 2014 - ASTM International standard F3099, Practices for Parasailing, went into effect September 18, 2014 and has become international standard for parasailing operators. ASTM F3099 offers guidelines/procedures for operation and maintenance of parasail equipment as well as standards for crew proficiency and flying passengers aloft. Florida State Senator Maria Lorts Sachs said White-Miskell Act "would not be a reality" without help of WSIA, Coast Guard, parasail industry, and ASTM International.

ASTM International - West Conshohocken, PA

Original Press Release

ASTM Parasailing Standard, Florida's New Parasailing Law and Improved Safety

Press release date: Oct 14, 2014

White-Miskell Act Now in Effect in Florida

A recently approved ASTM International standard, F3099, Practices for Parasailing, went into effect Sept. 18, 2014, and is now the international standard for parasailing operators worldwide. ASTM F3099 provides guidelines and procedures for the operation and maintenance of parasail equipment and standards for crew proficiency and flying passengers aloft.

The new standard was developed by Subcommittee F24.65 on Parasailing, part of ASTM Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices.

Larry Meddock, ASTM member and executive director of the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA), notes that Subcommittee F24.65 was formed after the WSIA was approached by the U.S. Coast Guard in January 2012 to support and facilitate an effort to establish standards within the parasailing industry through the ASTM standards consensus process. The subcommittee was formally established in fall 2012, with promulgation of its first standard, ASTM F2993, Guide for Monitoring Weather Conditions for Safe Parasail Operation, on April 1, 2013.

What prompted the effort to produce ASTM standards was a recent and rising trend of parasailing marine casualties; 11 fatalities and 52 injuries had occurred from 2006-2012. “The one common thread that stood out in these parasailing incidents was bad weather,” says Meddock. “The subcommittee went straight to work on developing ASTM F2993, and after several months of robust dialogue and industry meetings, consensus was achieved documenting safe weather conditions for parasailing.”

Following F2993’s implementation, F24.65 began drafting standards for equipment, operations, crew proficiency and patron responsibility. This effort culminated in combining the already approved weather standard with the draft standards into one comprehensive parasailing standard, ASTM F3099, with five sections:

• Weather — weather monitoring equipment and weather conditions in which parasailing activities may be conducted;
• Equipment — equipment required to be aboard a parasail vessel, including maintenance and record keeping;
• Operations — pre-flight and in-flight operations as well as emergency procedures;
• Crew — crew member training requirements, duties and responsibilities and record keeping; and
• Patron Responsibility — provides a list of inherent responsibilities that passengers engaging in parasailing have.

The weather section of the parasailing standard served as the basis for the state of Florida’s new parasailing law, the White-Miskell Act, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2014. The Act takes much of the weather standard into consideration, making compliance with operating within certain weather conditions enforceable under state law. For example, operators shall cease parasail flight operations when sustained winds reach 20 mph. In addition to the weather standards, the law has requirements such as:

• Parasail operators must carry certain levels of liability insurance; and
• Personnel operating a commercial parasail vessel shall be licensed by the Coast Guard.

Florida State Senator Maria Lorts Sachs, a sponsor of the White-Miskell Act, says, “Without the help of WSIA, the Coast Guard, the parasail industry and ASTM International, this law would not be a reality. Due to the advocacy, willingness and cooperation of all parties involved to help craft common sense safety measures, parasailing will be safer for residents and tourists all across the great state of Florida.”

Since Subcommittee F24.65 began their standards development work, the rising trend of injuries/fatalities has taken a sharp nosedive, with only six injuries and no fatalities recorded over the past two years – equaling, according to Coast Guard records, the lowest injury rate in 19 years.

“Subcommittee F24.65 is commended for its hard work and continued efforts toward promoting safety throughout the parasailing industry,” says Meddock.  “These results show the positive impact and effectiveness of the ASTM standards and how an industry has worked together to improve safety through voluntary compliance.”

All interested parties, particularly parasailing owner/operators, are encouraged to join in the standards developing activities of the ASTM Subcommittee on Parasailing.

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ASTM Committee F24 Next Meeting: Nov. 6-8, 2014, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Technical Contact: Larry Meddock, Water Sports Industry Association, Orlando, Fla., Phone: 407-620-7992; info@wsia.net
ASTM Staff Contact: Katerina Koperna, Phone: 610-832-9728; kkoperna@astm.org
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603; bschindl@astm.org