How High Does a Parasail Go?
If you have never gone parasailing, you have no idea what you are missing. It’s quite an exhilarating experience, yet it can also be quite relaxing. However, many people have anxiety about height in parasailing.
Parasailing does involve fairly great heights above the surface of the water. That said, exactly how high does a parasail go?
We will discuss the rules surrounding parasail height limits and why you shouldn’t feel scared when parasailing. You may achieve great altitude, but parasailing is generally considered safe.
Since many of us are also afraid of heights, we’ll go over some tips on dealing with that fear.
How High Does a Parasail Go?
Parasails can achieve fairly great heights as you are towed behind a boat. Generally speaking, you will be attached to roughly 800 feet of tow line. This can allow you to reach heights of 500 feet at most.
However, the height that a parasail goes is not dependent on the tow line length. In fact, there are strict rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on parasail height limits.
Now, the rules set out by the FAA, especially the wording in this sense, can be confusing. For example, the official rules state that a kite can go no higher than 500 feet above the Earth’s surface. We realize that a parasail is not actually a kite; however, parasails are considered kites to the FAA.
Other rules state that a parasail cannot operate less than 500 feet from the base of a cloud. Additionally, a parasail may not be used within five miles of any airport.
Furthermore, a parasail may not be operated in an area with less than three miles of ground visibility. However, the important takeaway is that 500 feet is as high as a parasail is permitted to go.
Now, for speed, this is more at the discretion of the parasailing captain. To a certain extent, the speed may also be at the discretion of the parasailers themselves. But, generally speaking, you can expect a parasail to travel between 15 and 30 miles per hour.
Can You Parasail Higher than 500 Feet?
Many people ask if they can go higher than 500 feet when parasailing. Unfortunately, the answer here is no. Let us explain why.
First, there are the restrictions as set out by the FAA. That said. Some people may try to sweet talk their captain into letting them go higher.
But, unfortunately, this will not work. Any parasailing captain worth their license will always decline any such requests without hesitation. It takes a lot of training and money to become a parasailing captain, and if they are breaking the 500-foot height limit, they will likely lose their job and license. They may also face monetary fines. So, the only viable choice for any responsible parasailing captain is to decline such requests.
This is not to say that you cannot request that you not go as high as 500 feet. If it is your first time parasailing, or you are afraid of heights, asking that you don’t go quite as high is possible. If you only want to go up 300 feet, this can be discussed.
Tow Rope Limits in Parasailing
According to the FAA, the maximum length of a tow rope is 800 feet. Therefore, you might think 800 feet should allow you to reach 800 feet, but this is impossible due to parasailing physics.
When parasailing, you’re not going to be directly above the boat. The boat has to move forward to create a lift with your parachute. Due to how physics works, it’s just not possible to go over 500 feet with 800 feet of tow rope.
Can You Parasail If You Have a Fear of Heights?
Of course, the main reason why people ask how high parasails go is due to a fear of heights, which is reasonable. After all, a big drop can result in injury or death. However, there are a few essential points to consider about parasailing.
First, parasailing is one of the safest airborne activities, certainly much safer than skydiving. For the record, did you know that only 70 people have died parasailing in the last 30 years?
That number is indeed astronomically low. For comparison, in 2019, nearly 850 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the US; riding your bike is more dangerous than parasailing. But, of course, the same can also be said for driving any motor vehicle.
You do go high when parasailing, and the height can be intimidating. But according to the numbers, this is a very safe activity.
Some Firsthand Accounts of People Parasailing with a Fear of Heights
Parasailing looks more intimidating when you are on the ground. But, according to firsthand accounts, it’s not that scary once you are up in the air.
One factor to consider is that you ascend very gradually when parasailing and the same goes for the descent. So it’s not like you are a cannonball that shoots into the sky and then plummets back down to Earth. Instead, the ascent and descent are far more gradual and relaxed.
Most people say that the height is not nearly as intimidating as imagined. Additionally, people have said that parasailing is a relaxing and mellow experience – you get to comfortably float above the water and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Some Tips on Dealing with a Fear of Heights
If you suffer from acrophobia, a fear of heights, you may hesitate to go parasailing. That said, you may have a little voice in your head that tells you how fun it could be.
Luckily, some tips can help you overcome this fear of heights. Here’s how you combat that fear of heights so you can go parasailing.
One proven way is by gradual exposure. In other words, starting small is an excellent way to start. Next, you want to expose yourself to gradually increasing heights. Yes, gradual exposure and building in height will take time, but it works. For example, going from 0 to 100 feet is much less intimidating than going right for 500 feet.
Another good tip is to rationalize your fear. Remember how we said that parasailing is a very safe activity? Well, this is true, and it’s what you need to tell yourself. The chances of something going wrong when parasailing are astronomically low.
It’s also a good idea to simply prepare yourself for what is to come. The more familiar you are with the parasailing process, the less intimidated you will be.
There are also relaxation techniques that you could practice, such as deep breathing.
Parasailing to New Heights – Final Thoughts
The bottom line is that you won’t go over 500 feet when parasailing. Although you might want to, the FAA forbids it. Moreover, remember that parasailing is indeed very safe.