How Much Does a Parasail Captain Make?

If you’ve gone parasailing, you know how fun it is. As a passenger, you get to relax and feel like a bird soaring through the air. Overseeing your flight is a parasailing captain in charge of your safety and the process.

You might love parasailing, but have you thought about being a parasail captain? If you love being out on the water, it could be a job for you. But, of course, there are strict requirements you must meet to be a parasailing captain.

In addition, you might wonder how much a parasail captain makes. As you are about to find out, parasailing captains can make up to $28 per hour or more. This article discusses how much you can make and the rules and requirements surrounding becoming a parasailing captain.

We will also cover some of your responsibilities as a parasailing captain. Finally, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of being a parasailing captain.

How Much Does a Parasail Captain Make?

Let’s get right to it and answer the central question of the day. As you might imagine, parasailing captains have some pretty big responsibilities. Their yearly salaries will depend on a variety of factors. First, the area or country in which they operate makes a difference.

For instance, parasailing captains in the U.S. are paid quite well. But, on the other hand, in South America, they make slightly less.

Another factor in salary is the company – some parasailing companies pay more than others.

In addition, seniority and length of employment will affect your salary. The longer you have been a parasailing captain, the more you will be paid.

The actual salary for a parasailing captain will be somewhere between $11 and $28 per hour. That said, the higher amount will go to long-time captains. So, generally speaking, your salary will start at the lower end of that spectrum.

For example, parasailing captains in Florida will generally start at $10 or $11 per hour. This equates to $19,500 per year, or $21,450 per year, respectively. However, if we look at places like California, the salaries are slightly higher.

If you’re a parasailing captain in California, you can expect to make around $14.27 per hour. This would equate to nearly $28,000 annually. There are instances where parasailing captain salaries may be significantly higher.

In addition, parasailing captains in extremely popular destinations may make up to $27 or $28 per hour. However, to achieve this kind of salary, you have to be with the right company, and you have been a parasailing captain for quite a few years.

Is There Any Room for Advancement?

You may wonder if there is any room for advancement after becoming a parasailing captain. The reality is that as far as corporate promotion goes, the answer is probably no because being a parasailing captain means you are already pretty high up and are likely in one of the highest positions in the company – except for the owner of the company. So in this sense, there’s not much room for advancement.

However, there is always the chance your income will increase yearly. If you are a long-term employee, you should get yearly salary increases. However, this will depend on the company and the amount of business you bring in.

In addition, parasail captains may get other small forms of compensation. For example, if you take photos or videos of clients, you may get a small commission. However, once again, this depends on the parasailing company.

How to Become a Parasail Captain – Requirements

Now that you know about the salaries of parasailing captains let’s talk about the requirements. After all, you can’t just wake up one morning and decide to get a job as a parasailing captain.

This is a career that usually takes quite a few years to establish. You first have to have experience on a boat. Then, you need experience working as a parasailing deckhand. In addition, you must take a boating exam, so you are qualified to operate a sea vessel and also get a Coast Guard-approved license.

As a parasailing captain, you have a lot of responsibilities. Simply put, you are responsible for the well-being and the lives of anybody going up in that parasail. So let’s look at what you need to do to become a parasailing captain.

1. The Necessary Boating Experience

As a parasailing captain, you will be operating a boat by yourself. Therefore, you must have adequate experience being on a boat before you try to get a parasailing captain job.

This boating experience can come in various forms; you could have been a crew member on any vessel, a crew member on another parasailing boat, a fishing vessel, or even a cruise liner.

Moreover, it’s better if you have captained your own boat, maybe as the captain of your own fishing vessel. The point is that you need boating experience. Having several hundred hours or even thousands of hours of boating experience will be required in most cases.

However, this does not have to be a paid position. You could be an intern or a volunteer as well. The important part is that you have experience being on a boat. More importantly, you must know what you are doing. This brings us to our next point – starting off as a deckhand.

2. Starting Off as a Deckhand

Being a deckhand on a parasailing vessel will come in handy. In addition, your former boating experience doesn’t have to be parasailing. However, if you already have experience with parasailing, you will already know more or less everything you need to know about parasailing.

This knowledge will be an advantage when finding a job and passing your exams. Therefore, we recommend getting your experience as a parasailing deckhand.

3. Taking Your Boating Exam

The next thing you need to become a parasailing captain is to take your boating exam to become licensed and legally allowed to operate a vessel.

You are not allowed to operate a motorized vessel without a boating license. This is no different than getting a driver’s license for your car. To pass this boating exam, you must display a level of knowledge, such as general boating techniques, boating knowledge, general seamanship, deck care, and more. In addition, you have to know how a boat works and what the boating regulations are.

In many places, you will only need to take a written test. However, there are some instances where you may also need a practical exam with an instructor who rates how well you drive your boat. They may then decide whether you pass your boating exam.

This will be the case if you want to get your boating license for professional purposes.

How Much Does a Parasail Captain Make

4. Getting Your Parasailing Captain License

Passing your boating exam is enough if you just want to drive a boat. However, more is involved for professional purposes, such as being a parasailing captain. In addition, you will need to apply for a boating license from the Coast Guard. Therefore, you will need to take a U.S. Coast Guard-approved boating license test.

Before taking this test, you will need to pass a drug screen. You also need a physical checkup to ensure you’re in good health; if an emergency arises, you actually have to be fit enough to handle it.

There are three types of licenses that you can get from the Coast Guard, which allow you to be the captain of a parasailing vessel. Let’s look at all three of these licenses.

Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vehicle

The most basic license is an Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vehicle license. Again, this is a very basic license, and it limits your passengers to just six people.

Master Inland License

This type of license allows a captain to operate a boat in inland water boundaries. You can earn this license with just 180 days of ocean experience and 360 days of overall boating experience. However, with this license, you cannot captain a parasailing vessel on the ocean.

Master Near Coastal License

The third type of license is the Master Near Coastal license. To get this license, you need to have at least 720 days of boating experience, with 360 days of ocean experience. You can go up to 200 miles off the coast and boat in inland waters with this license.

5. Find a Job

Of course, the final step here is to get a job as a parasailing captain. So move on to the next section to get tips on finding a good parasailing captain job.

Tips on Finding Work as a Parasail Captain

Let’s now go over a couple of valuable tips on finding work as a parasailing captain. Simply put, the best thing you can do is treat this like any other job search. You want to create a very high-quality resume and a great cover letter.

Once you have done this, you can check the local job listing websites. In addition, you can directly contact parasailing companies. Social networking platforms, especially LinkedIn, are a great option. Personal and professional contacts are always a great way to find jobs.

You can research parasailing destinations like Florida, California, South Carolina, New Jersey, and even Seattle. However, remember that warmer destinations will generally have more opportunities, especially warm areas all year.

Some Responsibilities of a Parasail Captain

Let’s go over some of the most basic responsibilities you will have as a parasailing captain.

  • You will be responsible for ensuring that your vessel is in working order. Plus, you will have to inspect your boat every morning to ensure that everything works properly.
  • You will also be responsible for ensuring that all parasailing equipment is in good working order and that you have the proper parasailing equipment for specific people.
  • Of course, you will be responsible for the operation of the boat itself. This means that you must also adhere to local boating regulations. In addition, you’ll be responsible for the parasailing activity itself.
  • You will also be responsible for the people themselves. In other words, their safety and security are your responsibility. This means that if something goes wrong, it is your responsibility and you who will be liable.
  • A parasailing captain must also be CPR qualified, and if there is a medical emergency, a parasailing captain must know how to deal with it.

Advantages and Disadvantages: Is Being a Parasail Captain a Good Job?

We also want to look at why you might want to become a parasailing captain. There are many good reasons, but there are also a few disadvantages.


  • As a parasailing captain, you get to be outdoors all day; you get to be at the beach and spend most of your day out on the water. So for anybody who doesn’t like the idea of an office job, being a parasailing captain is an option.
  • People like being parasailing captains because they get to meet many fantastic people. It’s a very social job that has you seeing new people every day.
  • Many enjoy being parasailing captains because you help other people make good memories. For many people, seeing that joy and delight on people’s faces as they parasail for the first time is worth everything.
  • Something else to consider is that parasailing captains can make some pretty decent salaries.


  • Keep in mind that you will not be earning much money at the beginning of your career. It takes a few years and the right company to make a good salary as a parasailing captain.
  • You are responsible for the people who are parasailing. If somebody gets hurt or seriously injured, it is your responsibility.
  • Another downside is that sometimes you have to make some pretty big judgment calls. For example, if the weather is not good, you might have to cancel a trip. Of course, this might ruin somebody’s vacation, but then again, safety is your first priority.

Being a Parasail Captain – The Bottom Line

You should now know virtually everything there is to know about being a parasailing captain. Now you can decide whether or not this is the right career path for you.