Kite surfers, as unorganized as they may be around the country, converged on Tallahassee law makers to stop an amendment to a parasailing bill which would have adversely affected their sport. Yesterday, March 19, 2014, SB 320 passed through the Community Affairs committee uncontested paving the way for its second reading and the bill no longer has a restrictive kite boarding amendment attached to it.
On March 11, 2014, we wrote about a new amendment which was introduced forcing kite boarders how and when they may practice their sport. That article created a firestorm in Tallahassee and two days later, the amendment to the parasailing bill was killed.
SB 320 is flying through committee after committee to impose new regulations on the Florida parasailing industry even though it has been proven to be a safe sport enjoyed by Floridians and tourists. Although law makers and the sensational media paint parasailing as an out of control industry which is killing many Florida tourists, the facts do not hold up. As we mentioned in another article on the legislation last month, over the last 30 years there have been over 130 million harnessed parasailing trips/rides and another 23 million Gondola rides. Out of those 153 million trips over 30 years there have been 73 fatalities throughout the nation, not just Florida. By all accounts this is a highly safe activity to pursue, yet bureaucrats in Tallahassee are interested in scaring the public that the industry is not safe and needs more regulation. The numbers simply do not justify the cause.
The new legislation, introduced and being promoted by Florida Senator Maria Sachs, is focusing on two young female tourists who died after two separate parasailing accidents years ago. Sachs has been on a crusade to right their deaths with this new legislation which the industry has already taken the necessary measures to make their sport more safe, negating the need for the new legislation.