Man parasailing

How Does Parasailing Work? [Some Fun Facts About Parasailing]

Looking for a new adventure for your next beach trip? What could be better than flying colorful chutes? But how does parasailing work?

In parasailing, a parasail wing is towed by powerboats and controlled by a built-in winch system. This winch system, to which the tow ropes are attached, is what lifts and pulls the chute. When the boat starts moving, the chute starts flying. You’re required to put on a life jacket for parasailing.

Continue reading for an in-depth guide on how parasailing works. We’ll also be answering some burning FAQs at the end of this guide.

3 Steps To Perform Parasailing

If you’re excited to plan your first parasailing trip but don’t know where to start and how to get prepared, we’ve got you covered. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Step 1: Book Your Trip

The first step to ensuring a fun parasailing experience is choosing the company you’d feel most comfortable parasailing with.

Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing a parasailing company:

  • Know your options. Look up all available parasailing companies in your destination and narrow down the ones with offers that best suit your schedule and budget.
  • Take a look at their website and/or social media platforms. Check the customer reviews of the overall experience. Also, look for information about safety measurements and the quality of the used equipment.
  • Look for experience. A certified, well-experienced crew will guarantee you a parasailing adventure that isn’t just safe but fun and joyful as well.
  • Early reservation. If you’re booking your trip during the high season, make sure you book it early on so that you have a better chance of picking what time of the day you want to have your trip. Ideally, you should book the parasailing trip 2 to 3 days before traveling to your destination. With some companies, you might need to make reservations up to 2 weeks in advance, especially for larger groups.

Step 2: Board The Boat

Once you board the boat, a crew member will provide a detailed explanation of everything you need to know and walk you through all the steps.

Take your time to understand the instructions and ask any questions you have in mind, and when it’s your turn to parasail, a crew member will help you set up the equipment.

First, they’ll give you a life jacket to put on, then a harness that will be strapped to the life jacket to make sure it doesn’t fall off. Once the harness is secured in its place, you can now adjust it to your comfort.

The harness should be under the center of your thighs so that when you’re in the air, it would be like a swing seat. And voila! You’re now ready to move to the deck, where the crew member will hook you up to the chute.

But before we get to that point, let’s first take a closer look at the boat and the chute setup and how it all works.

  • Boat: Boats used for parasailing are speed boats or powerboats where the back of the boat is usually equipped to be the chute launching platform.
  • Parachute: Also referred to as the parasail wing, the parachute is attached to towing ropes that are connected to a winch system.
  • Winch System: This is what controls the lifting of the parasail wing up in the air and pulling it back down to the boat.

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Step 3: Time To Fly!

Now that you have your life jacket and harness on, the crew member will call you up to the launching platform, where they’ll attach your harness to the parasail wing and ask you to sit down and adjust the harness to your comfort.

And that’s it! You’re all buckled up and ready to fly!

Once you’re up in the air, it’s time to indulge in the beautiful and breathtaking aerial scenery of the beach and the wide blue waters. Just like birds in the vast sky, nothing will come between you and the beauty of nature.

And don’t forget to capture these beautiful moments. In fact, some companies may offer to take pictures for you as part of their package, or you could just bring a camera and have your friends or other passengers do all the photography.

Another thing you’ll need to arrange with the captain before flying is whether you want to get wet or not.

In a standard parasailing experience, you won’t touch the water as you land directly on the platform you flew from.

However, if you’d like to, the captain can make a little maneuver when they start pulling the chute back to the boat and give you a quick dip in the water for even more fun.

Fun Facts About Parasailing

Woman parasailing

After discussing how parasailing works, what to expect, and how to be prepared for the aerial adventure, here are some fun facts about the origin of parasailing that you might not know.

In the early 1960s, towable parachutes were used by the military for landing training for pilots.

In this training, a vehicle would tow the parachutist until they reach a certain altitude and then release them to practice landing.

A couple of years later, water survival training was also conducted for astronauts in case they ever had to eject over water.

It wasn’t until the late 1960s that parasailing became a popular recreational activity where a vehicle would tow the parachute over the land or beach areas.

Parasailing FAQs

Now that you know what to expect in your next parasailing trip, let’s address some of the most frequently asked questions about the activity.

Is it safe to parasail?

Yes, parasailing is a pretty safe recreational activity that doesn’t involve anything scary. In fact, it’s a steady and peaceful experience.

Even the take-off and landing are done gradually and smoothly. So no need to worry; you’re in for a smooth ride.

Can everyone parasail?

Before booking your trip, ask about the company’s age and weight limits. If you’re traveling with family and/or friends, you should check that everyone is within these limits to avoid last-minute surprises.

Some companies fly passengers starting from 6 years old, but children must be accompanied by adults while flying.

As far as the weight limit is concerned, the total passenger weight for each harness-style parasailing flight can be up to 400 lbs, and the minimum weight is about 100 lbs.

Aside from age and weight, it’s also important to check if you or other members of your group have any health conditions or injuries that would make it unsafe to parasail. If you’re not sure about that, contact the company and ask.

What should you wear for parasailing?

Basically, anything will do the job. Some companies even claim that they had passengers flying in wedding dresses or tuxedos! So, whatever makes you comfortable and ensures a fun ride is okay.

When you’re getting ready to fly, an important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t be wearing any items that could easily slip and fall in the water, as you probably won’t be able to get them back.

You should, of course, check the weather beforehand to know if you might need more or fewer layers of clothes.

Also, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen because there won’t be any shade once you’re up in the air.

How long would parasailing take?

While the parasailing part itself takes about 10 minutes, the boat ride might take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the company’s program and how large or small your group is.