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Is parasailing on the Jersey shore a safe activity?

There's still plenty of fun to be had on the Jersey Shore this summer, and one of those fun activities is parasailing. It looks glorious, flying out over the water and getting a bird's eye view of the beach.

However, is parasailing too dangerous of an activity to enjoy? It certainly carries a degree of risk. You are flying hundreds of feet above the water, being towed by a boat and tethered by a harness and rope. If problems develop, it can be deadly.

The following tips can provide a safer experience:

-- Only parasail with established companies operating out of actual physical locations as opposed to beach-front stands. Fly-by-night companies can dodge liability by packing up and heading out of state after an accident occurs.

-- Never sign a release form until the boat's operator has thoroughly detailed the risks.

-- Operators should also explain safety procedures, including communications via hand signals, landing positions to minimize injuries even in rough waves or high speeds, emergency survival techniques to employ until help arrives.

-- Make a visual inspection of the parasailing equipment and the boat. Are both well-maintained, or is the boat old and the tow rope frayed and weathered? If so, take a pass on the day's activity.

-- No responsible operator will fly passengers when rain threatens, during foggy conditions or high winds. Always check the weather on a smartphone before parasailing.

No matter how safety conscious you and the operator are, it is a fact that parasailing accidents can and do occur. If you are injured due to a negligent parasail operator, you may have legal recourse to pursue claims for financial compensation.

Source: Parasail Safety Council, "Consumer Parasail Safety Tips," accessed Aug. 11, 2016

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