Parasailing is a recreational activity that people of all ages can enjoy. Whether it be parasailing via sea or land, there are ample pieces of equipment that make this activity operate smoothly. While most people who choose to parasail do so through recreational parasailing companies who provide the equipment, if you are choosing to parasail on your own, it is important to obtain all of the necessary equipment to ensure your parasailing adventures are as safe and as enjoyable as possible.
Parasailing revolves around the concept of sailing through the air via a parasail, a form of parachute, which is generally attached to a boat that pulls the parasail. However, the equipment needed in order to successfully and safely parasail is much more comprehensive than just the parasail itself and a vehicle for tugging. Below you will find all of the necessary equipment you need in order to best be prepared for your parasailing adventures.
While parasailing can occur on land via a truck, generally, most parasailing is conducted over a body of water with participants being pulled along by a boat. The boat is what drives the process and, as it picks up speed and wind, the parasail is hoisted into the air. There are boats made specifically for parasailing called "winch boats,' which are designed with installed motorized winch systems. If you are choosing to parasail privately, these boats can be purchased or rented.
Parasailing will give you a breathtaking view of the water and the surrounding areas and, if you desire to engage in photography, it is highly recommended that you use a GoPro camera to do so. GoPros are waterproof and hands-free, unlike your smartphone or other digital cameras, which will allow you to capture the moment without worrying about damaging or losing your phone.
The harness is what allows you to be a part of the lifting system that is generated by the tug of the boat and the parasail. The harness, which attaches to the risers that are attached to the lines, which are attached to parasail canopy, is an essential accessory of parasailing that creates a comfortable and secure seat for the parascender. The harness consists of a seating strap, a lower back strap, an adjustable waist strap, and two leg straps that range in size depending on the age and size of the parascender.
For any adventure sport, it is highly recommended that a helmet is worn, and parasailing is no exception to that recommendation. A helmet acts as a barrier that will protect your head in the event of an emergency or a hard landing. Helmets range in size and type and will likely be provided for you by a parasailing company. But, if parasailing privately, standard water sport helmets can easily be purchased between $40 and $120.
A life jacket is another important piece of safety equipment that should be worn for any aquatic adventure sport, including parasailing. A life jacket will keep you afloat if the landing occurs in the water or during an event of an emergency. Life jackets come in a variety of sizes and colors and will be provided for you if you go through a parasailing company. However, if privately parasailing, life jackets can be purchased at prices between $20 and $200, depending on type and quality.
The parasail itself is the backbone of parasailing, as it is the piece of equipment that allows you to soar through the air. As the boat that is used to tug the parasail picks up speed and wind, the parasail is lifted into the air. Parasails come in a variety of sizes and colors, and vary in the amount of lift the parasail generates, its weight capacity, and its price are all dependent on the size of the canopy.
The risers are a vital midsection piece of parasailing equipment to which the suspension lines descending from the parasail canopy connect. The risers are also responsible for holding the harness and contain the towing yoke, the part of the risers to which the tow rope attaches. For parasails that are not attached to a vessel, the risers also serve for steering the canopy left and right. The risers are usually constructed of mil-spec nylon webbing.
While parasailing, you are likely going to be in a hot beach environment with full exposure to the sun. Thus, sunscreen is a must have in order to protect your skin from UVB radiation and burning. Also, if you want to be able to see clearly in order to best enjoy your parasailing experience, sunglasses, particularly strapped sunglasses, are highly recommended, as the straps will keep your glasses from falling off your face at high wind speeds.
Suspension lines are another important piece of parasailing equipment, responsible for connecting the parasail canopy to the risers and the parascender. These lines play a vital role in the parasailing process, adding strength and stability to the parasail canopy. The lines are typically made of Dacron polyester, as this material stretches minimally under tension and does not absorb water easily.
While parasailing, you get to decide whether or not you want to get fully wet. While it is not required, if you choose to land in the water, it is recommended that you wear some form of swimsuit in order to be most comfortable. You can even obtain a swimsuit specifically for parasailing, which is made of polyester and contains quick dry technology. While swimsuits come in a variety of types and are not required, this particular swimsuit can be purchased for around $70.
If parasailing with others, a tandem or triple bar is an essential parasailing accessory. A tandem bar allows you to parasail with a partner, and a triple bar allows you to parasail with two other people. The bar allows more than one harness to be attached and is placed between the risers and the harnesses. In addition, these bars are known to have added benefits including increased comfort in the seating position and added distance between the parascendors and the lines, allowing for better photography.
The tow rope is the piece of equipment that attaches the risers to the boat's winch system, connecting you and your harness to the boat, and is released and pulled by the winch system. The type of tow rope used is dependent on the type of parasailing operation, the boat/winch, and local weather conditions. Tow ropes vary in size and thickness but are generally between 200 and 400 meters long.
The winch system is a hydraulic powered device important for the launch and descent of the parasail. The system works like a fishing rod, releasing the tow rope to launch you into the air or reeling the tow rope in for the descent. Many parasailing boats come with preinstalled winch systems, however, if needed, winches can be purchased individually at varying prices based on type and quality.
Wind plays a very important role to determining the outcome and success of a parasailing flight. Thus, it is important to have a wind meter on hand, especially if privately parasailing, to measure the wind velocity and make sure that the conditions are optimal for your parasailing adventures. If wind speeds are greater than 15 miles per hour, it is considered unsafe to parasail.