POMPANO BEACH – Alarmed by recent deaths involving parasailing companies and a largely unregulated industry resistant to tighter controls, state Senator Maria Sachs (D-Delray) on Monday is announcing new legislation designed to beef up parasailing safety protections.

“With our dazzling white beaches and crystal clear water, Florida is a natural magnet for adventure-seeking tourists who want a bird’s eye view of the spectacular scenery,” said Senator Sachs, who will be joined at the press conference by Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher. “But we need to better ensure that they are as safe in the air as they are on the ground, and this legislation is designed to do just that.”

With as many as 120 parasailing companies reportedly operating during peak season, Florida has become a Mecca for people donning harnesses and dangling from parachutes towed by parasailing operators. Unfortunately, beyond carrying optional insurance, the industry remains largely unregulated. Past efforts to pass tighter restrictions failed in the legislature.

Mayor Fisher, who has been seeking tighter industry regulations since the death of a 15-year old parasailor in 2007, will echo Senator Sachs’ concerns.

“The Pompano Beach City Commission is focused on working with Senator Sachs and the Florida Legislature to pass this bill regulating the parasailing industry to ensure we do not have another tragic incident in the State of Florida. We thank Senator Sachs for championing this legislation.”

Under the Sachs proposal, the “White-Miskell Bill,” – named for Kathleen Miskell who died in a parasailing accident this year, and Amber White, the 2007 parasailing victim – would prohibit parasailing under certain weather conditions, or operation of the parasailing boat within certain proximities of power lines, wharfs, or other fixed objects. It would also require insurance coverage, defined safety protection measures for passengers, including inspection of ropes and harnesses, among other provisions.

The measure is expected to be taken up during the 2013 legislative session which begins in March.