10 Things More Dangerous Than Parasailing


Parasailing looks like so much fun, and the videos you’ve seen on YouTube of people doing it almost make it seem easy. Admittedly, you have some fears, okay, make that a lot of fears. You’re so high up in the sky with nothing but water below you! What if something happens? Is parasailing as dangerous as it seems?

Here are 10 things more dangerous than parasailing:

  • Driving
  • Hiking
  • Going on a roller coaster
  • Riding a motorcycle
  • Rock climbing
  • Taking a cruise
  • Owning a gun 
  • Skydiving
  • Using an elevator
  • Scuba diving

Wait, those things are really more dangerous than parasailing? Yes, they sure are! Keep reading to learn why that is so your mind is more at ease!

10 Things More Dangerous Than Parasailing

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)’s Parasailing Safety Report from 2014, from 2009 to 2014, there were eight “serious” accidents when parasailing. 2009 was the year the NTSB got involved in tracking these accidents, so there may have been more before that, but they weren’t recorded in the same way.

Still, nine accidents in seven years! That’s pretty impressive. The NTSB says that for most of the accidents, equipment failure led to injuries and in some cases even death.

If you’re still feeling anxious, here are 10 things you do–some probably often–that have a higher risk of death than parasailing.

Driving

Rarely does a day pass when you’re not in your car or truck driving to work, the gym, the movies, the grocery store, or here, there, and anywhere. We’re sure we don’t have to tell you that driving is risky, especially when compared to parasailing.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Traffic Administration or NHTSA released a report in 2019 about driving safety. Through their Fatality Analysis Reporting System or FARS, we learned that in 2018, the US had 36,835 fatal car accidents and in 2019, up to 36,096 accidents.

The numbers were starting to look good at the end of 2019, but Car and Driver says the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has made people more reckless on the road, with more fatalities for every 100 million vehicle miles. 

No matter which recent year you look at, driving leads to thousands and thousands more deaths than parasailing. 

Hiking

Are you thinking of taking a hike next weekend? Even if you don’t plan to explore the death-laden Mount Everest, hiking can still be inherently risky. This 2020 article from Insider says that every year, the Grand Canyon claims 12 lives. In Australia, the Diamond Bay Reserve has led to two deaths in six months alone. Oh, and about Mount Everest. It’s attributable to more than 300 deaths. 

Insider reported a stat from the National Park Service citing that 160 people will die in a national park annually. For every million visitors, there are 0.57 deaths, so it’s not super risky. Even still, visiting a national park does lead to more deaths than parasailing. 

If you’re wondering how people die when hiking, it’s through all sorts of ways. Some hikers decide to take a selfie on the summit and plunge to their deaths. Others get lost and disoriented and starve. Some people slip on a steep incline. 

Going on a Roller Coaster

Roller coasters are heart-pounding, jaw-dropping thrills, no one can deny that. Even though you’re strapped in nice and tight, have you ever wondered about the risk of an accident when riding your favorite coaster? It can and does happen all the time.

The Global Association for the Attractions Industry or IAAPA publishes a Ride Safety Report about every year, with the most recent data from 2018. In their Fixed-Site Amusement Ride Injury Survey, they reported that in 2018, annual ride-related injuries were 1,256 out of 3.7 million attendees. 

What about roller coaster deaths? Between 1987 and 2000, 4.5 people died on roller coasters, but between 1990 and 2004, 52 people did. That still makes riding a roller coaster a bigger risk than parasailing. 

Riding a Motorcycle 

You know now that driving a car or truck poses a greater risk than parasailing, but what about taking a leisurely ride on your motorcycle? It’s almost as dangerous! 

The Insurance Information Institute or III says that 4,594 people died of motorcycle accidents in 2014. In 2015, it was 5,029 motorcycle riders, in 2016, it was 5,337 riders, and in 2017, it was 5,172 motorcyclists. The III says that’s a fatality rate of 59.34 per 100,000 motorcyclists per most recent data.

The issue here could be a lack of wearing helmets. Back in 2000, the III states that 71 percent of motorcyclists reported wearing helmets. That number dropped steeply in 2005 when only 48 percent bothered with the life-saving headgear. 

Fortunately, the numbers are back up in 2019, with 71 percent of motorcyclists committing to wearing helmets again. Still, that number should be 100 percent! 

Rock Climbing

Perhaps instead of hiking up mountainsides, you prefer to scale them instead. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that rock climbing is riskier than parasailing. In a January 2020 report from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the data revealed that the fatality rate of rock climbing is anywhere from under 1 percent to 41 percent. The report goes on to say that ice and falling are the two leading causes of rock-climbing deaths. 

Taking a Cruise

Perhaps you enjoy more relaxing kinds of activities like leaving all your troubles behind and taking a cruise. Surely that’s safer than parasailing, right? Actually, wrong.  

A website appropriately called Cruise Ship Deaths logs all stats related to fatalities on these traveling vacations. Here’s their 2019 archive, of which there are nine reported deaths on the first page of results alone. If you keep going, the numbers just add up. 

We’re excluding 2020 data in this instance due to the heavy rate of COVID-19 outbreaks and possibly related deaths on cruise ships. Still, even the 2019 numbers are rattling. Cruise Ship Deaths even categorizes the deaths by sinkings, fires, drownings, disasters, overdoses, disappearances, port deaths, illnesses, accidental deaths, natural deaths, suicides, murders, and people overboard. Yeesh. 

Owning a Gun

Some risks are homebound, such as owning a gun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC has an interactive chart highlighting gun deaths in the US for 2018. Here is a list of the states with the most gun deaths:

  • Texas – 3,552 deaths 
  • Arkansas – 3,040 deaths
  • Florida – 2,902 deaths
  • Georgia – 1,680 deaths
  • Pennsylvania – 1,654 deaths
  • Ohio – 1,555 deaths
  • North Carolina – 1,416 deaths
  • Illinois – 1,382 deaths
  • Michigan – 1,310 deaths
  • Tennessee – 1,228 deaths
  • Arizona – 1,147 deaths
  • Virginia – 1,035 deaths

Even if you look at the state with the least amount of reported deaths in 2018–Rhode Island with 37 deaths–gun death in that state in that year alone is still higher than parasailing incidents between 2009 and 2014. 

Skydiving

Okay yes, when you’re parasailing, you’re in the sky much like you would be while skydiving, but you’re not nearly as high. When parasailing, you ascend between 250 and 500 feet, and remember, you have water below you. If you go skydiving, you’re jumping from 18,000 feet with nothing underneath you but the cold, hard ground.

This How Stuff Works guide states that 19 people died skydiving in 2012 in the US. Out of every 100,000 jumps, only one person perished, but that still makes this activity more dangerous than parasailing. 

Using an Elevator

Do you ride an elevator often? Perhaps it’s how you get to your office on the fourth floor. Although everyone always thinks that the worst thing that can happen on an elevator is getting stuck, some people do die on elevators. 

The CDC and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health or NIOSH published a report from 2006 that reviewed elevator incident and death frequency. According to that report, in the US, every year, 17,000 people will withstand elevator-related injuries and 30 people will die. That makes an everyday thing like taking an elevator more dangerous than parasailing. 

If you’re wondering how you can die on an elevator, it’s not necessarily people riding elevators who are at risk, but rather, those whose jobs it is to maintain the elevator. The repair and installation of elevators leads to about 14 of those reported deaths every year. Whether it’s people falling in the elevator shaft or even getting severed between moving parts (sorry, but it happens), elevator deaths can be grisly. 

Scuba Diving 

If you take to the seas, you may be safer than when driving on the road, but not all that much safer. Parasailing over the ocean is a better bet than being in it, especially if you like scuba diving. From commercial dives to scientific and recreational ones, having preexisting health issues, experiencing poor conditions, getting trapped in something, or having equipment malfunction are the main causes of scuba diving deaths.

The Divers Alert Network America or DAN tracks scuba-related deaths. According to their stats, for every 100,000 people who go scuba diving a year, 16.4 of them die. It’s not a high number of fatalities at all, but it’s still worse than the number of reported parasailing incidents. 

This 2015 data from Diving Medicine for Scuba Divers lists the causes of scuba deaths as follows:

  • Weighing themselves down with heavy items like a weight belt – 90 percent 
  • Diving alone or getting lost – 86 percent 
  • Failing to use the buoyancy compensator – 50 percent
  • Surface deaths – 50 percent 
  • Surface difficulties – 25 percent
  • Medical issues that should have precluded them from diving – 10 percent
  • Still training to dive at time of death – 10 percent
  • Cave diving – 5 percent 
  • Rescuing other divers – 1 percent 

Final Thoughts

If you’ve wanted to go parasailing but held off because it seems risky, we hope this article proves there are a lot more dangerous things out there. That’s not to scare you into discontinuing these activities, but rather, informing you so you can make educated decisions about how you live your life. With any luck, that includes parasailing! 

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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