Updated on November 21st, 2022 at 08:40 am

Parasailing has been on my bucket list for a long time, so I figured it was time to cross it off. But like bungee jumping, I know there are limitations for an obese person. So before booking a session, I needed to know; what’s the parasailing weight limit?

For harness-style parasailing, the weight limit is about 400 lbs, and the minimum weight requirement is about 90 lbs. Gondola-style setups can carry more weight up to 850 lbs. These weight requirements vary between locations, rigs used, and parasailing service providers. However, they are good averages to use as guidelines.

It might be embarrassing to ask parasailing instructors questions involving weight restrictions. So, let’s take a deep dive to understand the weight caps and why they exist.

How much should each parasailer weigh?

The 400 lbs or 850 lbs weight limit isn’t for one rider but the combined weight of two or three riders. To enforce the weight limit for group riders, parasailing companies prefer riders to be a specific weight. Often they insist on a minimum of 100 lbs, but they can go as high as 140 lbs. In the case of single riders, some parasailing companies can allow weights over 300 lbs. However, these companies are the exception instead of the rule.

If you are a group, you can determine the weight limit for each person with some quick calculations. Say the parasailing company has their weight limit set at 425 pounds. If you are two, then every rider should be less than 212 pounds. But if you are a group of three, every rider should be less than 142 pounds,

Note: Some parasailing companies may shave off some pounds from their limits to accommodate the equipment you may have on you.

What is the weight limit for two people parasailing?

The weight limit for tandem parasailing is the same as harness-style parasailing – 400 pounds. Because of these weight limitations and to keep the rig balanced, heavier people will often do it alone. If one person is significantly heavier than the other, the parasail’s position will change, and the whole experience is compromised. Most parasailing instructors play it safe, so this problem doesn’t present often.

What’s The Minimum Weight Limit For Parasailing?

For harness-style rigs, the minimum combined weight restriction is about 90 pounds. Some parasailing services might prefer to play it safe by pushing the numbers higher.

But why do they have a minimum weight limit? Generally, the higher you go above ground, the windier it gets. Many parasails rise to over 200 feet, so you’ll experience some wind. The fact that most parasailing services are located along the coastlines where it’s windier doesn’t help the situation.

If you weigh less than 90 pounds, you’ll be knocked and tossed around by the wind instead of enjoying the view. Not only is this not fun, but it’s also unsafe and a risk parasailing services aren’t willing to take on.

Why do Gondola and Harness Rig Setups Weight Limitations Vary?

The weight limit difference is a result of the difference in setup. Harness-style setups expose riders more to wind and other elements. Moreover, the harnesses used have weight limits they can support. Gondola setups are simply large flying boats, and they offer more stability and support, allowing them to support higher weight limits. Because of the high weight limit, gondolas are ideal for families or groups to parasail together.

Do You Have to Get Weighed to go Parasailing?

Generally, parasailing services don’t weigh riders before they go parasailing. However, if you are overweight and seem like you are pushing the weight limits, they may enquire about your weight. But even when they ask, they are usually discrete about it.

In some countries and companies, asking for a weight range is part of the process. They might even ask you to indicate your weight on a waiver document they provide before you go parasailing. But even with this, it’s only when you seem to be pushing maximum weight limits.

Why do weight limits vary greatly?

Most weight limits are estimates and subject to change based on several factors:

  • Wind conditions

Weight and wind conditions can be considered indirectly proportion. When there are strong winds, it’s riskier since there’s more pressure on the cables and other parasailing gear. Some parasailing services require their captain’s approval before riders board a parasail boat. As such, it’s advisable to call beforehand to ensure you are within their weight stipulations of the day.

  • Laws

The Federal Aviation Administration regulates parasailing in the U.S. They stipulate some rules parasailing services need to adhere to. Aside from these strict operating guidelines, there are local and state laws in different states and countries that affect the cable used, whether gondolas or harnesses should be used, and more. Collectively, these regulations affect the weight limits.

  • Insurance providers

Though parasailing gives an adrenaline rush, the risk involved compared to similar water sports is low. But whether low or not, the risk makes it challenging for parasailing services to find good insurance. Often, they have to adjust their maximum combined weight limitations requirements to comply with insurance company requirements. There’s very little they can do since insurance companies prefer playing it safe to protect their bottom line.

Can you parasail if you’re overweight?

Being overweight isn’t a problem, provided you are within the stipulated weight limits. But that’s the tricky part since some parasailing companies set limits as low as 300 lbs in some states and depending on the prevailing conditions. So if you are overweight, it’s crucial to call ahead and confirm the weight limitations.

Aside from your weight, the only other hindrance barring you from parasailing is fitting in gear. You’ll need to sit in a harness with wraps strapped around your legs to make a seat. Depending on your body shape, the harness might not fit correctly, preventing you from getting your adrenaline rush.

If you are within the weight limits and can fit in the gear provided, the parachute will do the rest, so sit back and enjoy the wind in your face and the view of colorful beach umbrellas.

Note: Alternatively, you can consider finding a company that uses a gondola setup. Since gondolas have higher limits, you have more room to work with.

Can The Parasailing Line Break If I’m Too Heavy?

It’s highly unlikely the rope will break on account of your weight. Parasailing companies use 7/16″ or 3/8″ double braided ropes to support about 6,000 pounds. This weight range is more than sufficient to handle your weight even if you’re overweight.

In isolated cases, the rope can break because strong forces exceeding the rope’s strength are applied. Some variables that impact the rope’s strength include physical damage or strong winds. The attachment points to the parasail are also points of weakness that can lead to breaks.

Can You Still Parasail If You Exceed The Weight Limit?

You can, but you shouldn’t. Even though being overweight might not break the ropes, it doesn’t mean you should disregard the limitations. Parasailing companies and insurance companies have these weight limits for good reasons. Although these limitations are overly cautious designed to minimize risk, it’s commendable to stick to the rules.

Why are Parasailing Weight Limits Too Low?

Despite the rope’s ability to support 6,000+ pounds, the rules and regulations have the weight limit at 400 pounds for liability reasons. Though relatively safe, parasailing has some risks. To ensure all sessions proceed without complications, precautions, including weight caps, are necessary.

How High Will You Fly When Parasailing?

The Federal Aviation Administration limits parasails to fly below 295 feet from the ground. But with an 800-foot towline, you can go as high as 500 feet. As for speed, you’ll cruise between 15 and 30 miles an hour, depending on the captain’s preference.

Can You Go Parasailing When Pregnant?

It depends on the parasailing company you choose. Some will turn you away, while others will offer you the experience under close monitoring and regular equipment maintenance. Generally, parasailing is safe and low-risk, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Do You Get Wet When You Parasail?

You have to get wet when parasailing. Most parasailing captains will take off and land you smoothly from a boat’s deck. If you wish to get wet or dip your feet in the water while sailing, the captain can slow down the boat, let you free fall gently to just tough the water surface and then take off again.

Are Parasailing Captains Trained or Licensed?

Yes. Most parasailing companies have captains who are U.S. Coast Guard licensed masters. The crew and the captain are trained in parasailing, flight procedures, and boat handling.

Do You Need to Make a Parasailing Reservation?

In peak seasons, some parasailing companies have limited space, so making a reservation is encouraged. Showing up for a session with a reservation may have you waiting for hours for an opening. Reservations can be made a couple of days in advance. Alternatively, if you don’t have your vacation schedule worked out, try calling in the early morning to make a reservation and find out their weight requirements too.

Is Parasailing Scary?

First-timers might be worried about it, but it’s normal. The idea of flying with harnesses around your body can be a little terrifying, especially for overweight individuals with a fear of heights. Actually, those who’ve parasailed before can testify to how exhilarating it is, and they end up falling in love with the sport.

Conclusion

Although 400 lbs sounds like a high weight limit, it’s low when you consider most parasailing sessions are done in pairs. As such, it doesn’t take a lot for two individuals to surpass the 435 lbs threshold and thwart your parasailing plans. So while it might be more embarrassing than researching a kayak weight limit it should definitely be something you take the time to do.

Since weight limits change daily depending on weather conditions, you should call ahead to ensure you meet their requirements before scheduling your session. For more articles check out ExtraLargeLiving.com.