What Is a Tandem Parasail Ride?

You want to go parasailing, and reading this blog has helped you get prepared. That said, as the big day nears closer and closer, your nervousness has increased. It would be so nice if you could ascend to the skies with a beloved friend, partner, or family member by your side. Can you?

Yes, through a tandem parasail ride, which is a parasailing trip for up to two people at a time. Although it depends on the parasailing company, tandem parasail rides might be capped at a weight limit of 425 pounds, which means each rider must weigh no more than approximately 212.5 pounds.

You may still have more questions about tandem parasailing. For example, do you get to sit side-by-side with your partner? Is the parasailing experience any different with two people in the air at once? We’ll answer all those questions and more in this article, so keep reading! 

What Is a Tandem Parasail Ride?

To ride in tandem means two people do it at once. You may have heard of tandem bicycling, which involves you riding on a long, dual-seated bike for two that you pedal together. Tandem parasailing is less labor-intensive, as you sit in a gondola seat, get strapped in, and your captain will take care of the rest. 

Since you’ve been reading the blog, you’re probably familiar with how parasailing works by now. If not, this article can be your guide. It goes over all parts of the parasail as well as how the boat captain’s speed and your parachute (technically called the parasail wing) can give you lift.

What is parasailing like with a second person? It’s not all that different, actually! Since you’re required to disclose your weight while making your reservation (and you’re expected to be honest too), your captain will know how much weight they’re working with. This information will help the captain make your experience as safe as possible.

The same type of equipment you’d wear as a single rider is crucial when parasailing in tandem. That includes, at the very least, a well-fitted life jacket or vest. Some parasail companies may require you to wear a helmet as well, although many don’t.

Can you still choose between a harness (hanging) or gondola (seated) when parasailing in tandem? Possibly, although it’s more common for tandem parasailers to sit than hang.   

The Types of Tandem Parasail Rides

Besides selecting between a harness or gondola, parasailing in tandem gives you another unique way to sit, as you have two styles to choose from. These are one parasailer in the front and the other in the back or sitting side by side. Let’s discuss both types now as well as some advantages and disadvantages of each.

Front-to-Back Tandem Parasailing

As the name of this style implies, front-to-back tandem parasailing entails one rider sitting while facing the captain’s boat and the other sitting away. Here are some advantages of this style:

  • Both parasailers get unique vantage points, especially the person sitting in the back, as all they see is open water!
  • You get the feeling of independence that you’d enjoy when parasailing solo plus the security of knowing you have another person up in the sky with you. 
  • This seating style may have better weight distribution.

Let’s next go over the disadvantages of front-to-back parasailing:

  • You typically have to sit in a gondola seat when parasailing this way, giving you one less option. 
  • If you’re afraid of parasailing by yourself, front-to-back parasailing can make you feel alone, as you don’t get to see the other person. 
  • You can’t really have a conversation up in the sky if you wanted to, as the breeze and your seating style may make it hard to hear one another. 

Side-by-Side Tandem Parasailing

The second option you can request when booking your time in the sky is side-by-side tandem parasailing. This is the option where your riding partner is right next to you. Here are some pros of this seating arrangement:

  • This is the more standard type of tandem parasailing, making it the more preferable choice for beginners. 
  • The proximity allows you and your parasailing partner to enjoy each moment of the trip together.
  • If parasailing with a child or a nervous partner, you can easily check on them the entire time, which you can’t say when sitting front-to-back.

That said, don’t forget about these downsides:

  • Gondola seating is much more common for side-by-side tandem parasailing and might be your only seating option.
  • If you like the idea of having some space, you don’t get that when sitting right next to your riding partner. You can’t lift your arms out all the way or even halfway without hitting whoever’s next to you! 

What Is the Weight Limit for a Tandem Parasail Ride?

We’ve touched on it a few times already, but now it’s time to discuss tandem parasailing weight limits in more detail. Just like single riders must be of a certain weight to be eligible for a parasailing trip, the same is true of tandem riders (and triple riders for that matter).

What is the max weight limit for two parasailers? It varies depending on the parasailing company. If you go back to our article on parasailing weight limits, we cited several examples. Here are a few of them for your reference:

  • Pinky’s Parasailing Adventures in Lake George, New York – 550 pounds for groups
  • Paradise Parasail in Fort Myers Beach, Florida – 500 pounds for groups
  • Point Pleasant Parasail in Point Pleasant, New Jersey – 500 pounds for groups
  • Adventure Parasail in Virginia Beach, Virginia – 600 pounds for groups
  • Island Water Charters in Avalon, California – 450 pounds for groups
  • South Beach Parasail in Miami, Florida – 450 pounds for groups
  • Long Beach Parasailing in Koutsounari, Lasithi, Greece – 450 pounds for tandem riders
  • OC Parasail in Ocean City, Maryland – 400 pounds for groups
  • Dewey Beach Parasail in Dewey Beach, Delaware – 425 pounds for groups
  • Marina del Rey Parasailing in Marina del Rey, California – 450 pounds for groups
  • Traverse Bay Parasail in Traverse City, Michigan – 450 pounds for groups

The problem with the above listings is that outside of Long Beach Parasailing in Greece, all the listed weight limits are for groups. Since the greatest number of people you can bring with you for a parasailing trip is three, we can assume then that a group is three, not two people.

That’s not always true, though. Just Chute Me Parasail in Destin, Florida mentions on their website that their weight limit for tandem riders, not groups of three, is 425 pounds. 

Let’s use that as our example then. By dividing 425, you get 212.5 pounds, which would be the max allowable weight for each individual parasailer who wants to ride tandem.

If the weight limit for tandem riders is 450 pounds, then each parasailer should weigh no more than 225 pounds. Even if the parasailing company did offer a rather generous weight limit for two riders, around 500 pounds, then each parasailer can’t exceed 250 pounds.

We discussed this in our article about parasail weight, but we want to mention it again now. The staff at the parasailing company will not pull out a scale and ask you to step on it before you embark on your ride. They expect that the weight you listed in your registration paperwork is accurate. 

If it isn’t, then it’s your safety on the line. Parasail rope or tow rope can withstand weights of around 600 to 800 pounds depending on the type of rope. Your parasail company won’t skimp on the tow rope and use cheap stuff, but even the heavy-duty, reinforced rope can only take so much strain before it snaps. Tell the truth about your weight! 

Can You Always Parasail in Tandem?

When on a romantic getaway with a partner or vacationing with the family, you’ll have your heart set on a group parasail ride. We do have to mention though that there are some instances in which you’ll arrive for your day of parasailing and the captain will tell you that he or she can only bring one of you up at a time.

In windy conditions, the captain has to reduce parasailer weight. They may recommend groups of two rather than three or even single riders only. The weight limit for single riders may be slashed somewhat for your safety.

There’s not too much you can do in a situation like this. Sure, you could always try asking for a refund, which may or may not work. In the future, you’re better off checking the weather fervently ahead of your trip. If you call with enough advance notice, you may be able to postpone your parasail if the forecast shows a clearly windy day is coming up. 

How Much Does Tandem Parasailing Cost?

Since you’re adding another rider, you can expect tandem parasailing to be costlier, but exactly how much more expensive? To answer that question, we refer you back to our post on parasailing costs

Most parasailing companies price their services by how much time you’re up in the air while others list the price per rider. Using the latter criteria, here’s how much you might pay for a tandem parasail:

  • Marina del Rey, California – $95 each 
  • Walt Disney World – $200 each
  • Fort Myers Beach, Florida – $75 each

When parasailing in Marina del Rey, your average parasailing price would be $190 for a tandem ride. At Walt Disney World, you’d spend $400 to go parasailing for two, but it’s Disney, so you can expect everything to be more expensive. In Fort Myers, it might cost you around $150 to go tandem parasailing. 

Final Thoughts

Tandem parasail rides are a lovely experience for two people. You may sit side-by-side with your riding partner or even ride back-to-back depending on your preferences and what the parasailing company offers.

The old saying of the more, the merrier is definitely true when parasailing. Now you have to choose a special person to go tandem parasailing with! 

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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