Do You Land in Water While Parasailing?

If you’ve never been parasailing, you may have many questions about how it works and what to expect. The experience looks exciting but also fairly straightforward – it looks as though the passenger is being flown like a kite.

Therefore, the natural question is whether you land in water when parasailing. But, like a kite, do passengers simply splash back down to earth? Should you expect to get wet or stay dry? Do you land in the water while parasailing? Let’s find out.

How Does Parasailing Work?

Parasailing has several components that allow you to achieve lift and fly safely in the air. The unique shape of a parasail wing will enable you to glide like a kite in the air, offering incredible views with a quiet, safe system. Let’s go over the parts of the experience:

Parasail Wing

The wing of a parasail is like a specialized cross between a kite and a parachute, designed to provide lift and stability during flight and slow descent for a safe landing. However, a parasail wing is not intended to give the rider control over the flight. Instead, direction and speed are determined by the towing vehicle.

Parasail Gondola

The rider is attached to the wing by either a hanging seat or harness. In most cases, passengers ride in a seat called a gondola. A gondola is lightweight and flexible and swings gently beneath the wing. Riders are securely attached to the gondola with straps to ensure that they are both safe and comfortable while they ride.

A Winch

Most recreational parasailing is “winch boat” parasailing. A winch is used to raise the gondola and passenger and then lower them at the end of the ride. It provides smooth, steady, predictable motion, with better control over height.

A winch also allows operators to simply “pull” passengers back down to land on the same deck or platform they took off from, making landings safe, simple, and dry.

Tow Rope and Boat

The parasail wing is tethered to a boat by a tow rope, so the boat captain can “sail” parasail passengers for the duration of their ride.

The operation is simple once you know the parts. A specialized parasailing wing creates lift and stable flight and slows descent. Passengers ride below the wing in a lightweight gondola and are towed behind a boat.

A winch controls ascent and descent, providing a smooth ride without a “roller coaster” feeling and allowing them to take off and land in the same spot.

Passengers can stay dry the whole time, depending on which type of landing is used when parasailing.

Do You Land in Water While Parasailing

Three Types of Parasail Landing

There are three different ways to land when you are parasailing. Using the first and most common method, you never make contact with the water and stay dry the entire time. So let’s explore the different ways to land when parasailing.

1. Ordinary Platform or Boat Deck Landing

Most parasailing adventures end with landing on the boat or flight deck you were launched from. In this type of landing, the basic procedure is as follows:

  • When your sailing time is nearly ended, your operator will activate the winch that starts your descent
  • Descending in a parasail is a lot like ascending: the hydraulic motion is smooth and gradual, without sudden jerks or stops
  • During the descent, remain relaxed and calm. Remain seated in a natural, neutral body position
  • As you near the ocean surface, you may want to spread your legs slightly and bend your knees for a smoother dismount
  • Step onto the ground. Once you have reached the platform and feel comfortable, step off the parasail and onto the ground. The crew will assist you with landing. It is normal for this to look ungraceful the first few times, but it is perfectly safe.

With a standard parasail landing, you may experience some light ocean spray at the very end of your flight, but in most cases, you stay completely dry.

2. “Get Your Feet Wet” Landing

Many people want to get a little bit wet when parasailing, so it is a common request that operators are familiar with. Because it is not the default landing, you need to request it ahead of time.

Since you can’t communicate with the boat crew during your parasailing sessions, you should discuss landing options and preferences ahead of time before you ascend. Most captains and operators will be happy to give you some splashing on the descent.

If you want to get your feet wet when landing (usually called “taking a dip”), this is the typical procedure:

  • Like a standard parasail landing, your descent will be smooth and gradual.
  • As you near the ocean surface, your captain will allow you to descend lower than usual to make contact with the water
  • Remain relaxed and comfortable in a neutral body position, but allow your feet and legs to splash and enjoy the water
  • You will approach the deck or platform as expected and step off onto the surface

You will not be submerged in the water during this kind of landing. Your feet may be below the water surface, and your lower half will get splashed, but you are unlikely to get completely soaked. You can discuss how much “dip” you want with your boat captain, and they will usually accommodate your preferences.

3. Emergency Parasail Landing

In the unlikely case of an emergency, you may need to land in the water while parasailing. Most parasailing emergencies are due to sudden weather or wind changes, or issues with the boat may make it impossible to maintain the speed needed for parasailing.

However, in rare cases, a parasail operator may not get you safely back to the boat deck or landing platform and may need to perform a water landing.

Because of the possibility of an unexpected emergency or water landing, you will always be wearing a flotation device when parasailing, and it is essential to pay attention to any hand signals you may receive from the crew.

They will indicate to you whether a water landing is imminent. When you have a parasail emergency landing, this is the typical procedure:

  • Your parasail crew will indicate a water landing using hand signals
  • Your descent will be a steady, smooth descent. It will be faster than a non-emergency landing but should not be abrupt or jerky
  • As you near the water, your speed will slow as well. The operator will seek to land you gently on top of the water, without dragging or dropping you abruptly
  • Relax and float securely in your life vest
  • If you are close and it is safe to swim to shore, you may begin to swim to shore. Otherwise, stay where you are and wait for a boat or watercraft to pick you up.

Emergency procedures and communication techniques may vary, so it’s essential to pay attention to safety guidance with your parasail operator before your flight.

If you have any questions about safety or emergency procedures, ask ahead of time and make sure you understand the answers.

Be Prepared

Although you typically do not land in the water while parasailing and may remain completely dry throughout the experience. It is always good to expect to get a bit wet and wear appropriate clothing.

Even if you are well above the water, you may experience some light spray during your ascent or descent, and there is always the unlikely possibility of an emergency water landing.

However, most people will want to wear only a bathing suit while parasailing. Your harness or safety gear may rub or chafe bare skin during your flight.

Also, the wind experienced while parasailing may make you colder than conditions on the beach. Instead, wear comfortable clothing that allows for a full range of movement, and be aware that your clothing may get splashed a bit during the experience.


Parasailing is fun and exciting, offering incredible views and the thrill of flight in an incredibly safe experience. During a professional parasailing experience, you do not land in water and may not get wet at all unless you request it.

However, a water landing may be necessary in an emergency. So, it is a good idea to be prepared and know what to expect.

The three types of parasail landing, along with good communication and safety information from your crew, are designed to keep you safe and make your parasailing adventure as enjoyable as possible.