> >I havn't really had time to follow this thread but, IMHO, water skiiers and
> >fishermen (trolling with outriggers/downriggers, etc) don't have the
> >right-of-way (they are not professional fishermen) so, therefore, should
> >I would think not....but...common courtesy should prevail just as it does with
> >skiiers and fishermen, etc.
> >***** Brent
> > LUHC
> Well, a boat pulling a parasail is under some very serious
> restrictions. If they don't keep the line tight and pulling enough to
> keep the parasail up, they are going to drop the parasail in the
> water, or worse.
> Pulling a parasail is not as easy as it may appear. There are many
> hazards that need to be considered. Among them are:
> 1) If the tow boat powers down, and a gust of wind catches the
> parasail, it can pull the tow boat backward and possibly swamp it.
I would think the tow boat operator would show poor judgment operating in
conditions likely to swamp his boat in this manner.
> 2) Getting slack in the line, and then taking off, can jerk the
> parasail, possibly damaging it or causing it to spill.
I've seen tow boat operators do this all the time, allowing the
parasailer to touch their feet in the water before powering back up. When
the tow boat operator backes down, gravity maintains air pressure on the
chute, as long as the tow boat eases the slack out, the chute shouldn't
damage or spill. Under some emergency circumtances, I could see this as a
potential problem though.
> 3) If the tow boat were to stop unexpectedly, the parasail
> would obviously fall to earth the same as a parachute would. However, the
> landing spot may not be well selected. Into water is probably the
> best, assuming that the person did not become tangled in the parasail.
> However, an untrained person hitting land can be seriously injured.
A long time ago a Ft. Walton beach parasail operator had trouble getting
the parasailor down in high winds, so he decided to cut the lines. The
young lady, wearing a bikini, landed in an asphalt parking lot where she
was dragged by the high winds. Litigation followed.
> 4) If there is any wind blowing, making a turn can be very tricky.
> You can not allow any slack to get in the tow line, so the turn has to
> be wide enough to keep the line tight. Since the tow line can be
> rather long, the turn radius has to be likewise very wide. Wind just
> increases the turning radius when turning downwind.
True, but I still find towboats are far more manuverable than I am. I
always try to give them a wide berth, but it is usually they who motor
out to, and overtake me.
> In a practical sense, a fisherman may stand to lose his line in the
> event of being forced to change course. A parasailor risks serious
> injury. I don't think that they are anything at all alike.
They are alike when you consider that they are both recrational activities
that make them less manuverable. Of course the towboat operator is
commercial, but it is commercialized recreation, much like a charter
fishing boat. Of course I think that finding yourself in a potentially
dangerous situation with a parasailor, you should make every effort to
give way, as you say the parasailor is at greater risk, however I have
never been in a situation with my sailboat, that manuvering one way or
another would make any difference to a para-sail towboat operator, they
can literally sail circles around me. As I said before, I avoid these guys
like the plague, I know they are trying to make a living, and their
customers want a fun experience; I've got no problem with that. I surely
don't want a tow line wrapped around my mast-talk about a fancy spinnaker!
> Now, the big question is: Does it make sense for someone to be
> pulling a parasail where a right of way condition can occur?
Good question, to get the maximum amount of customers,these guys setup in
popular areas. This usually means lots of recreational boaters and PWC
operators too. If they tried to setup in low traffic areas, they'd
probably go broke, but in densely traveled areas potential conflicts
abound. What's the answer? I don't know, but I like to think that good
manners and common sense by all parties will avoid problems and further