Update on White-Miskell Act Parasailing Bill | Chalik & Chalik
After being struck down in 2013, at the Business & Professional Regulations Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives, the White-Miskell Act is back on the legislative floor and making progress.
Senator Maria Sachs has re-introduced the bill in the wake of yet another tragic parasailing accident that we are working on. Our client, Alexis Fairchild, was seriously injured in July 2013 when she and a friend were parasailing on Panama City Beach. The line snapped and the girls flew inland where they struck a hotel and eventually fell on top of an SUV. Alexis sustained serious head and spinal injuries and has gone through therapy to repair the damage and re-learn many skills.
Florida parasailing vendors and companies are largely unregulated, and the White-Miskell Act seeks to impose new regulations and safety guidelines to help prevent future accidents. The bill was reintroduced to the Florida Senate and so far has passed two committees in the House and one in the Senate.
On March 5, the bill had its most recent victory as it passed the House Business Committee. The bill must pass a total of three committees in each chamber prior to going before the full bodies of the House and Senate. Once it passes full body legislative sessions, it goes to Governor Rick Scott for final approval. The next step for the bill occurs today when it goes before the Florida Senate Commerce Committee.
With Spring Break upon us and the summer beach months coming soon, we hope the other committee members, legislators and Governor Scott will see the critical need for regulation of this popular industry. Right now, parasailing companies are not held accountable for routine equipment inspection and there are no guidelines in place for when weather hazards should prevent parasailing excursions.
It is my hope that the Florida legislators will see the support generated through our online petition (link below) and the media. We hope they realize that parasailing accident cases like Alexis’ don’t have to happen if parasailing companies are required to perform routine safety checks and maintenance. No beachgoer should have their day in the sun ruined by a negligent parasailing operator using damaged equipment or operating in unsafe conditions.
Alexis’ story is not a single instance. Over the years there have been hundreds of parasailing accidents along Florida beaches, several of them fatal. I believe that many of these accidents could have been prevented if parasailing companies were held to a higher standard of safety and responsibility for safe operations. An industry where people’s lives are put in the hands of an employee should ensure that those employees are properly trained and take responsibility for the maintenance of their equipment.
If you are interested in supporting the White-Miskell Act, please take a moment to sign our petition and share it with your friends and family. If you have questions about parasailing legislation or injury cases, give me a call at 855-529-0269 or send your inquiry through our online contact form.