Is Parasailing Fun? What to Bring to Make It Better

You’re trying to plan a fun outdoor adventure with a partner or even the whole family. A buddy of yours recommended parasailing, but isn’t that scarier than it is exciting? Can parasailing be fun and what do you need to make the experience better?

Parasailing is indeed very fun, but having the right equipment and gear will make your time over the water even more memorable. Here’s what you should bring:

  • Swimwear (with the expectation that you’ll get wet)
  • Or quick-drying clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Strapped sunglasses
  • Well-fitting hat
  • GoPro or similar portable camera
  • Shoes that strap or tie on

Ahead, we’ll go over each of these parasailing must-haves. Once you get everything you need, you can focus more on the breathtaking thrills you can only get when parasailing. Those who are new to parasailing and planning their first trip on the water won’t want to miss this!

8 Things You Need to Make Parasailing Even More Fun


Although you’re between 250 and 500 feet above the water when parasailing, you should still expect that you’ll get wet at some point. That’s part of what makes parasailing so fun, especially on a hot summer’s day. The breeze and the bit of wetness are very refreshing.

Your parasailing trip is on the beach, and you’ll only be up in the sky for an hour or two. You might want to spend the rest of your day splashing in the waves, playing in the sand, or catching up on your tan. Beach gear helps here. 

Wearing swimwear is perfectly appropriate when parasailing, but you want a swimsuit that provides more coverage than average. Men won’t have to worry about buying new swimwear, as a pair of swim shorts should keep your legs covered enough. Up top, you want to wear a quick-dry shirt.

This BALEAF men’s Dri Fit lightweight shirt on Amazon is a good pick for these purposes. Available in long-sleeved or short-sleeved styles, this polyester shirt not only dries quickly, but it has a UPF protection rating of over 50. You’ll be safer from UVA and UVB rays when cruising the skies.

For the ladies, a standard bikini top and bottom is not the best choice to wear when parasailing. You should don a life jacket when engaging in this sport, not to mention there’s a harness you have to wear too, so there are plenty of surfaces you don’t want your bare skin rubbing up against. 

Try a rash guard instead like this CALIA long-sleeved one from Dick’s Sporting Goods. Featuring a standard crew neckline with a zipper, the side ruching is adjustable for more or less coverage depending on what outdoor activities you’re doing. Like the men’s shirt above, this rash guard offers protection from UV rays. 

Or Quick-Drying Clothes

If you’d rather, you can also wear clothes when parasailing. Since you can’t necessarily avoid getting wet as you sail above the sea, make sure that the fabric choices you make are conducive to that. 

We’d suggest quick-dry underwear so you’re comfortable where it counts. Try this set of Fruit of the Loom undies for women, available on Amazon, or this five-pack of quick-drying men’s underwear by Natural Feelings, also on Amazon.

Denim, when it gets wet, is thick and heavy, so skip wearing that. Cotton absorbs moisture, be that water or sweat, and holds onto it, leaving you uncomfortable. What’s worse is that the wetness of your skin plus the friction from your harness or gear can lead to chafing. If your garments are over 25 percent cotton, then save them for another occasion, not parasailing. 

Quick-dry shirts like those we suggested in the last section will keep you dry up top. For your bottoms, try gym shorts or sports garments, as these are designed to wick away sweat so you feel dry and comfortable longer. For instance, women might want to shop these Nike Tempo Core running shorts on Dick’s Sporting Goods and men these quick-dry athletic running shorts on Amazon. 


It’s hard to make family memories parasailing when your skin is burning. Any exposed areas of skin must be covered with sunscreen. It’s recommended you apply the product before you disembark for your parasailing adventure, as it’s not exactly like you can touch up your sunscreen in the sky. 

By the time you land on the shore again, enough time should have passed and you’ll have either sweated or gotten wet enough that it’s time to reapply your sunscreen. Make that one of the first things you do when you’re back on your feet. 

How do you choose the right sunscreen for days of sunny fun parasailing? The American Academy of Dermatology Association or AAD recommends these three qualities in any good sunscreen.

  1. Water-Resistant

Most sunscreens with water resistance will say so right on the front of the bottle. That said, do pay attention to the wording used. If the sunscreen is just water-resistant, then it only safeguards you from water exposure for upwards of 40 minutes. If the product says it’s very water-resistant, then you get double that time, 80 minutes of protection.

On top of that, water-resistance in this case does not mean sweat-resistance too. If you’re heavily sweating, then reapply your sunscreen more often. 

  1. SPF 30+

Sun protection factor or SPF informs you of how well the sunscreen can protect you from UVB radiation, keeping your skin free of burns. Although many people assume that the higher the SPF, the better the sunscreen is working, that’s not necessarily true.

The Environmental Working Group or EWG published this report warning against high-SPF sunscreens. According to their findings, you get 98 percent protection from a sunscreen that’s SPF 50 and 99 percent protection from a sunscreen that’s SPF 100. Although the difference in SPF is 50, you only have one percent more sun protection from SPF 50 to SPF 100. 

That’s why the EWG, as well as many other experts (such as the AGA), say that SPF 30 protection can suffice as a borderline. You can go as high as SPF 50, but there’s rarely any need for anything higher than that. 

  1. Broad Spectrum

The third important factor in choosing the right sunscreen is that it’s a broad spectrum. Your skin needs safeguarding from both UVA and UVB rays, so if yours picks and chooses, you need to shop for a more comprehensive sunscreen. 

Water Bottle

An average parasailing trip lasts an hour and a half, and you’re out in the sun the entire time. You’re going to get thirsty, so make sure you, your partner, and your family all have at least one bottle of water handy that you can drink to stay hydrated.

We wouldn’t recommend putting the bottle in your pocket. This creates bulk that might get in the way of the parasailing harness. Plus, women’s shorts rarely have pockets big enough for a water bottle.

Instead, a water bottle running belt like this one from Nike will let you keep your bottle around your waist. The belt can hold bottles up to 22 ounces so you never have to be too far from your drink. You even have a small zip pocket for stashing your keys or maybe a credit or debit card. 

Strapped Sunglasses

Parasailing can be a leisurely experience if that’s what you prefer, but you can also go pretty fast up there! It all depends on who’s operating the boat. On the lower end of the speed spectrum, you might hover above the water at about 12 miles per hour. Some parasailers prefer speeds that approach closer to 50 MPH.

The wind speed that generates when you travel that quickly will send your sunglasses flying off your face unless they’re strapped on. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy a whole new pair of sunglasses, just a strap that you can add to your favorite pair so they’re more secure.

We like this Ukes premium sunglasses strap on Amazon. The neoprene strap is stain-resistant and waterproof as well. The softness of the material is designed for hours of comfortable use without rubbing against your head or ears and causing a headache. You can also select from a rich variety of colors and patterns so you can express yourself with your sunglasses strap.

If you wear eyeglasses, you might want to consider switching to contacts for the day if that’s an option. If not, then try an eyeglasses strap such as this one from Luxe Performance on Amazon. We wouldn’t advise you to use a sunglasses strap for your eyeglasses or vice-versa. These straps are designed for two different types of eyewear, and misusing the strap might not guarantee its security when you need it most.  

Well-Fitting Hat

If you never hit the beach without a wide-brimmed sun hat, you’re not going to want to wear such headgear when parasailing. Any hat that doesn’t fit firmly on your head could go blowing into the sea the moment your boat operator picks up speed. 

Hats are a good option for sun protection as well as to keep your face free of sun glare, just not loose, floppy hats. A good, old-fashioned baseball cap should suffice. Set the adjuster strap around back as tightly as it can go without squeezing on your head and giving you a headache. Your hat should stay in place during your whole parasailing trip. 

GoPro or Similar Portable Camera

The tiny, portable camera known as the GoPro has made it possible for us to capture more experiences from unique points of view. Whether you like to wear your GoPro on your head or strap it around your body when parasailing, it’s all possible.

The GoPro is waterproof, so even if it gets splashed by water (which is likely), you won’t have to worry about camera damage. If you have another portable camera in the same vein as the GoPro, make sure that it too is waterproof before you bring it parasailing.

Now, we’re sure you’re wondering what you should do with your smartphone when parasailing, right? Unless you have a waterproof pouch like this one on Amazon, then we’d tell you to leave it in the car or even at home. 

Even with the waterproof pouch, you don’t want to put your smartphone in your pocket when parasailing, as it could go tumbling out and into the water. You also can’t hold your smartphone because you need both hands free to do arm and hand signals. 

A smartphone fanny pack like the Waterfly, an Amazon’s Choice product, is a smart pick. This water-resistant bag works for such phone models as Samsung S6 and the iPhone 8. Made of comfortable nylon, the belt is adjustable between 24 and 43 inches. It also comes in plenty of fun colors and patterns.

Since this bag is only water-resistant, we don’t recommend taking your phone out during your parasailing trip. Water-resistant items shouldn’t be submerged in water, so you don’t want to lose your waist pack! 

Shoes That Strap or Tie on

As we’re sure you could have guessed by now, if you wear flip-flops when parasailing, you’re going to lose them to the ocean. Yes, we know flip-flops are standard beachwear, but you’re not spending a typical day on the beach here.

That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with sneakers. You can wear those if you want, but if you hate the feeling of sand in your closed shoes, then try sandals that strap on. These Teva Voya strappy sandals for women on Dick’s feature elastic straps at the back. They also have crisscross webbing across your foot and then an opening for your big toe. These shoes will certainly stay on when parasailing.

For the men, these Santiam ankle strap sandals from Columbia boast Velcro straps to increase their secure fit even more. One of the Velcro straps covers the front of your foot and the other strap is closer to the back of your foot. Your toes are nice and free with no thong in the way. 

Final Thoughts

Parasailing is an awesome, fun experience the whole family can partake in. The gear we suggested in this article will ensure you’re comfortable, safe, and secure when parasailing. You’ll have less to worry about so you can drink in the sights of the world around you from your one-of-a-kind vantage point. Have a great time out there!  

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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