Parasailing safety guidance

We have released some safety guidance for commercial parasailing operators. Parasailing vessels are considered domestic commercial vessels under the National law.

This guide is to assist parasail operators understand and comply with their general safety duties as domestic commercial vessels under the National Law.  

Parasail operations, unless exempt, are required to ensure that the vessel: 

The safety management system for parasail operations must include a risk assessment with adequate controls in place to eliminate or minimise, so far as is reasonable, the risks associated with the specific operation.  

NOTE: In addition to complying with the National Law requirements, owners or operators of vessels used for parasail operations may also need to comply with other Commonwealth, State and Local laws relating to (but not limited to): 

  • Civil Aviation (CASA) 
  • Safe Work Australia 
  • State Waterways  
  • Waterways Management areas 
  • Local Council rules and regulations. 

Special considerations for parasail operations 

Parasailing risk assessment 

The operator of a parasailing vessel must put together a risk assessment, including a contingency plan for eliminating, minimising, and responding to risk posed to parasailing operations. The risk assessment and contingency plans should be kept on board the parasailing vessel in the vessels safety management system and must comply with Marine Order 504. 

Daily inspection of parasailing equipment 

The operator of a parasailing vessel should thoroughly inspect all parasailing equipment to be used each day and keep a written record including the date of inspection, result of inspection and the name of the person who carried out the inspection. The inspection should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications for the equipment and should include a full test of the winch. 

Unsafe equipment not to be used 

The operator should not use, or allow the use of, parasailing equipment the operator knows, or suspects is unsafe, worn, or damaged. 

Manufacturer’s specifications for equipment to be followed 

The operator of a vessel used for parasailing should ensure that all equipment is fitted, inspected, maintained, replaced and used according to manufacturer's specification for the equipment. 

Parasailing payloads 

The operator should ensure that with each flight the weight of the passengers should be within the manufacturer's specification or within certain specified payload limits of the equipment being utilised.  

Annual inspection of equipment  

The operator should ensure that parasailing equipment other than the winch be examined on an annual basis by a competent person. A competent person may be a manufacturer of the equipment, the manufacturer’s agent, or another appropriately experienced person. The competent person should be satisfied that the equipment is safe and make a written record of the details of the inspection. Records should be kept of the inspection for the life of the equipment. 

Vessels winch 

The operator should ensure that a cut-out safety device is fitted to a winch used for parasailing and regularly inspected and tested. 

Winch rope 

The winch rope used for parasailing should comply with the manufacturer’s specifications for safe working loads and limits and the number of flights after which the rope should be replaced. The operator should keep records of rope inspections and manufacturers specifications. 

Minimum experience for a Master of a vessel used for parasailing 

The master of the vessel used for parasailing must be qualified to perform the duties required of the role as per Marine Order 505.  

Adequately trained and experienced crew 

The operator of a parasailing vessel should be adequately trained and experienced and ensures that each person involved in conducting the parasailing can safely perform their role. The operator should keep a written record of the relevant qualifications and experience of everyone involved in conducting the parasailing operation. 

First aid 

The operator of a vessel used for parasailing should ensure that a trained first aid officer is at the launching platform or collection point. The operator should also ensure that a suitably equipped first aid kit is on board the parasailing vessel or otherwise immediately available. Arrangements for the medical treatment and evacuation of an injured parasailer should be planned and practised. 

Safety briefings 

The operator should ensure that each parasailer is briefed before parasailing and specifies the matters to be included in the briefing. The briefing session should include a question and answer session. After the safety briefing the operator should assess whether it is safe for each parasailer to take part and should exclude anyone for whom it would not be safe to take part. 

Parasailing operations should be conducted in accordance with the equipment manufacturer’s instructions and the operational risk assessment. 

Last updated: 25 October 2023