Rights of way of parasailers (was Re: Boating safety bill in

Rights of way of parasailers (was Re: Boating safety bill in

Post by b.. » Thu, 09 Feb 1995 12:55:14



Quote:
Geoff Cashman) writes:


>>Once upon a time I was sailing on a beautiful but rather small lake
>>(30mi x 2 mi).  Jetskis had yet to be invented.  As I rounded an island,
>>there came into view someting that had never before appeared on the lake.
>>A powerboat towing a guy*** from a parachute.  Well, the two of us
>>were on sort of a converging course, and while I had no intent to press
>>the issue, I couldn't help but wonder who had the right of way.  Then
>>a police patrol boat headed toward me and told me in no uncertain terms
>>to "stay the hell away.!"

>I ran across this once while sailing a Thistle.  There's a person on
>our lake who has a parasail and once in a great while you see it
>flying around the lake.  When I came across him heading towards me, I
>felt the best course of action was to tack away and keep a course
>perpendicularly away from the motorboat's apparent intended course.

>My reasoning for this is that the motorboat was potentially under a
>restricted operating condition, and could not avoid a collision or
>take extreme action with the parasailer up in the air.

>I am not certain who had the right of way in this case.  I'm curious
>to know.  It's not an issue I am going to press....ever...the last
>thing I want is a parasailer tangled up on my mast.  But, I am
>curious.

>Answers?

>                               - Geoff

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
parasailers?

I would think not....but...common courtesy should prevail just as it does with
skiiers and fishermen, etc.
***** Brent
      LUHC

 
 
 

Rights of way of parasailers (was Re: Boating safety bill in

Post by Rod Mc Inn » Sun, 12 Feb 1995 11:23:19

Quote:

>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
>parasailers?

>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.

2) Getting slack in the line, and then taking off, can jerk the
parasail, possibly damaging it or causing it to spill.

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.

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.

  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.

  Now, the big question is:  Does it make sense for someone to be
pulling a parasail where a right of way condition can occur?

        Rod McInnis

 
 
 

Rights of way of parasailers (was Re: Boating safety bill in

Post by Scott William » Thu, 16 Feb 1995 06:42:31

Quote:

> >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
> >parasailers?

> >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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
> 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.

Quote:
>   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!

Quote:
>   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
restrictions.-scott

 
 
 

Rights of way of parasailers (was Re: Boating safety bill in

Post by Rod Mc Inn » Fri, 17 Feb 1995 16:01:11

Quote:
>> >      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.

  Your are not likely to find a zero wind situation in many areas.  It
doesn't take much of a pull backwards to swamp many boats.  Shutting
down the tow boat can be hazardous.

Quote:
>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
>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.

  When they intentionally dip the parasailor into the water, they do
it by slowing down and gently allowing the parasail to fall.  They
don't just shut down and let the person drop on thier own.

Quote:
>> 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.

  Good example.  Broken legs are also possible if the person was not
trained on landings.  A parachute drops pretty fast.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
>> 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
>restrictions.-scott

   It was about 30 years ago I saw my first parasail.  It was at lake
Havasue, and it sure drew a crowd.  A friend of my Dad's had set this
up with an old parachute.  A few months later, they were asked to
participate in an event held at a small private lake (I'm sure I will
remember the name of this place eventually. It is in Southern
California, part of some community with entrance gates and security).
Anyway, they get their, only to be told that only residents can run
their boats on the lake.  Therefore, they will have to tow their
parashute behind one of the "officail" boats for this event.

  Well, things didn't go well.  A gust of wind started to lift the
back of the tow boat some, causing it to cavitate.  The operator
paniced and backed off the gas.  Then the boat was drug backwards,
which quickly spashed a little water over the transom, killing the
exposed engine.  With the engine dead, they were at the mecry of the
wind, which was not kind to them.  the boat ended up sinking, but at
least they had a line on it.  Thank God the water was not deeper than
the line was long or it may have drug the person under with it (yes,
the parachute had a quick release on the harness, but untrained people
often don't remember such things in times of dire need).

  Another version of this type of activity, that didn't catch on, was
a "kite".  Essentially a hang glider towed behind a boat.  The person
generally started in the water, wearing skiis.   The boat would start
pulling, they would get up on skiis, then would be lifted into the
air.  With the kite, a sudden stop resulted in a major crash of the
kite.  I think there was a good reason that this activity didn't catch
on.

  But back to the original issue:  I would consider a boat pulling a
parasail to be very limited in it's ability to manuver.  I am not sure
where I would place it in the pecking order, however.  

        Rod McInnis