Senator Sets Sail After Passing Of Parasailing Law

Oct 2, 2014

Senator Maria Sachs suits up in a life vest prior to her parasailing flight.
Credit Gregory Castillo / WLRN

Senator Maria Sachs (D-Delray) knows how far she's come when she's parasailing over the crystal-blue waters of Fort Lauderdale Beach.

It's been more than 10 years since Florida's Legislature attempted to create new regulations for the parasailing industry. By the time of her Thursday morning flight, the law had finally changed. 

"I felt safer... I studied a lot about this sport," said Sachs to a gathering of press and local leaders at Aloha Watersports in Fort Lauderdale. "I was happy to go up there and know we have the regulations. So I felt a lot safer now that we have them and I want everyone to come out and enjoy it." 

Senator Maria Sachs heads to a boat on a dingy before the start of her parasailing flight.
Credit Gregory Castillo / WLRN

On Oct. 1, the Sachs-sponsered White-Miskell Act came into law. A day later, Sachs paid her respects to the families of two victims of lethal parasailing accidents in Pompano Beach.

The White-Miskell Act is named after victims Amber White and Kathleen Miskell, who died in 2007 and 2012, respectively. The new law prohibits commercial parasailing during sustained winds of 20 mph or higher, when gusts are more than 25 mph, when rain or fog diminishes visibility by less than a half mile or when lightning storms are detected within seven miles. 

The law also adds a $1 million insurance minimum and valid license for operators. 

"This law will keep this industry in business," says Sachs, shortly after taking her ride. "With me going up today, I fulfilled my commitment to the water sports industry, to the families of the victims and to all people that want to enjoy our beaches, that it's safe."