How Do Parasails Land?

If you are going on a beach vacation trip, parasailing is something to consider. It is one of the most popular activities to do at the beach. Moreover, it can be highly relaxing, yet also a bit exciting.

First, you are attached to a harness connected to a parachute. Next, the parachute is tied to a towline wound around a winch.

Finally, the boat will begin to move at a relatively high speed, and your parachute will catch the wind and begin to lift you into the air as the tow rope is let out. That said, one thing that people worry about is the landing process. So, how do parasails land?

The parasailing landing process is quite simple and relatively smooth – there is really nothing to worry about as it is very safe.

Moreover, every aspect of your descent and landing is monitored and controlled by trained professionals. So let’s get to it and discuss everything you need to know about landing in a parasail.

The Basics

Before we talk about the specific process, let’s go over some basics. People wonder if the boat slows down to allow for the descent. The answer is no.

The reason for this has to do with simple physics and gravity. If the boat were to slow down while you are descending, you would plummet into the water. The boat has to maintain a certain speed to keep the parachute airborne. If the boat slows down before you have your feet back on it, you’ll land in the water.

Therefore, while you are descending, the boat will maintain its speed. That said, the most essential part of the equation here is the winch that the rope is attached to. Remember, in parasailing, that rope is attached to a hydraulic winch designed to allow the rope to extend and retract.

So, you’ve spent anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes soaring up in the air. However, now it’s time to come down. At this point, the captain will activate the winch, retracting the rope. This is a slow and gradual process. Many people don’t notice it’s happening until they are near the boat.

Where do Parasails Land?

People also wonder where they will land, specifically whether they will land in the water. Barring an emergency landing, you won’t land in the water.

Actually, landing in the water when parasailing can be dangerous. The parachute has a lot of ropes and cables, and if you land in the water, the ropes can get tangled up, and you can get caught in them.

This could result in serious injury or drowning. Therefore, landing in the water is generally avoided. That said, it may be necessary in the event of an emergency landing, which we’ll discuss later.

There are two options for landing. Generally speaking, the captain will have you land either on the rear of the boat or a dock. If you are a single person or two people, you will likely land on the stern of the boat. The captain will activate the winch, and you will slowly be pulled back toward the boat.

The other option is to land on the dock or the pier you started from. This will usually be the case if you are parasailing in groups of two or three people. There is more room for everybody to land on a dock or pier, which is why it is the preferred option.

Remember to ask where you will be landing before you take your trip because you won’t be able to communicate with the parasailing captain when you are in the air, except by hand signals.

How Do Parasails Land

The Parasailing Landing Process – Step by Step

Now that you know the basics let’s go through the parasailing landing process.

1. A Slow Descent

The first step is the slow and gradual descent. You’ll likely lose track of time when you are in the air. However, the captain will know how long you’ve been up there.

Once your time is up, the captain will activate the winch to start pulling the rope and you back toward the boat. The winch spins in one direction to extend the rope, and in the other to retract it. These winches may be hand-powered or motorized, with hand-powered winches common in parasailing. The rope is attached to the winch at one end and the parasail at the other.

The winch will slowly start winding the towline and pull you back toward the boat in a gradual, safe, and slow process. You will not plummet to the ground at speed.

It may be hard to realize you are descending; the boat needs to maintain speed until you are safely on the boat. If the boat were to slow down before you were back on it, then you would fall into the ocean; the parachute needs to maintain its lift for the duration of the trip.

2. Keeping Yourself Relaxed

There is really nothing to worry about as you gradually descend back toward the boat. It may look intimidating to be descending toward the ocean, but parasailing captains have landed many people before you. So just keep having fun during your descent.

As mentioned before, you may be allowed to dip your feet in the water – it’s up to you. However, if you don’t want to get your feet in the water, the captain will respect your wishes.

As you descend, the captain will give you some hand signals. Remember that he can’t possibly yell loud enough for you to hear, so you need to pay attention to the captain. For your safety, pay close attention to these hand signals. We’ll discuss these hand signals a bit later.

3. Touching Down

The most important part of the landing process is touching your feet down on the boat or the dock. You will receive hand signals instructing you exactly where you will be landing.

Once your feet are close enough to the ground to touch, just take a couple of light steps. This is not unlike a brisk walk or a jog – quite simply, you’re going to hit the ground running. A good tip is to keep your feet spread fairly wide apart.

This will allow for a steady base and decrease the risk of falling over. In addition, bend your knees slightly when landing. This will lessen the impact and provide more stability.

4. Finishing Things Off

The only thing left to do is remove all the parasailing equipment from your body. Once this is done, your parasailing trip is over. If you have landed on the boat, you will have a short trip back to the beach or dock.

Parasailing Hand Signals

There are hand signals you need to be aware of. The parasailing captain will show you various hand signals, and you do need to know them.

When the captain starts the boat, they should give you a hand signal. Generally, they will raise up one arm, with their fingers together and the palm away from their face. Then, they will rotate their hand a few times.

Next, your captain will raise both arms up and out like wings. They will also raise both of their thumbs. This means that it is time for you to start ascending.

You may also see the captain put both arms over their head and then cross their hands over the top of each other. Their fingers will be flat and pressed together. This will tell you that there is an emergency situation and that the captain has to cut the motor.

When it’s time to land, the captain takes one hand and raises it below their chin, with their fingers flat and pointed outwards. The captain will then use their other arm to direct you towards where you will land. Finally, they will use their index finger to point you in the right direction.

Parasailing and Emergency Landings

Landing in the water is avoided because of the risks of getting tangled in the parachute lines. However, there are times when things may go wrong.

You may get a hand signal that the captain has to cut the motor. You may have to make an emergency landing if there is something wrong with the parachute, the engine, or the weather. This means you will get wet. If the captain can’t safely land you on the boat or the pier, you’ll have to land in the water.

However, be aware that emergency landings in parasailing are extremely rare. Moreover, most people who land in the water are fine.

If you have to land in the water, just be aware of your surroundings – especially where the parachute and the lines are. You don’t want to get tangled up in them.

Final Thoughts

There really is nothing intimidating about the parasailing landing process. The captain will provide directions and instructions. Once you know where to land, bend your knees, take small steps, and you’ll be back on the ground before you know it.