Summer vacations are a great time to head to the beaches in Connecticut and elsewhere in New England. Whether it’s for a family reunion or simply a gathering of old friends, there are always fun activities going on at the shore.

You may prefer to swim in the ocean, fish off the rocks or simply lie in the sun under your beach umbrella. Beach vacations have something to entertain every member of your family or group of friends. But some beach activities carry a much higher risk than others.

The dangers of parasailing

It sure looks like a fun way to while away a sunny afternoon at the beach — gliding hundreds of feet above the surf and enjoying a bird’s-eye view of the activities on the shore. While all that is well and good, you could face incredible danger and even death if something goes wrong.

As it turns out, there are many things that might go wrong on your parasailing flight. This industry operates with almost no oversight, meaning that sketchy operators can employ old or shoddy equipment that might fail mid-flight.

There are no federal standards for training required of the operator of the boat towing the parasailing equipment and the flyer. Anyone with a boat and a minimum investment of tow lines and harnesses can hang out a shingle and start collecting tourist dollars for parasailing flights over the beach.

A popular summer beach activity

Despite the potential dangers, parasailing still attracts between three and five million participants each year in our nation. Some boat operators may be very experienced and diligent about putting safety first over profits. Others, not so much. The problem lies in being able to distinguish one from the other in an industry without oversight.

Ideally, even without oversight by any federal agencies, the operator will insist on inspecting the harness and towline before every parasailing flight to make sure that none of the equipment has deteriorated or shows signs of wear and tear.

What about the weather?

Reputable parasail operators stay briefed on the current and future weather conditions. Since squalls can develop literally within minutes just offshore, it’s important never to start a parasailing flight when there is even the hint of inclement weather conditions.

It’s incredibly dangerous to be flying high above the beach just before a storm hits. Not only can you be buffeted by strong winds which could cause you to break free of the towline and go soaring into tall structures like beach-side condominiums, but you could be struck by a bolt of lightning.

Be safe this summer

If you wind up injured in a parasailing accident at the beach this summer, you may decide to take legal action against the negligent operator who was responsible for your injuries and other damages.