How would you feel about being towed behind a vehicle while attached to a canopy that whisks you into the air as the vehicle accelerates? You, of course, have no control over the canopy or parachute harnessed to your body. Would you consider it an adrenaline rush? A sense of carelessly soaring through the air? Or would it cause a tingling sensation in your stomach followed by a rush of fear?
The act of being towed behind a boat, attached to a tether, soaring above miles of ocean or bay water is called parasailing. In Ocean City, it’s something visitors love to experience. All risk and responsibility forgotten, hundreds of adventure-seekers place their trust in the hands of the O.C. Parasail crew as they skillfully lead visitors up to 800 feet into the sky.
“There is no age limit for riders, but if you’re under 18, it’s required that a parent sign a permission waiver,” said Alexandra Smith, an O.C. Parasail employee. Smith has been working at O.C. Parasail for several years. All who plan to ride must sign a liability waiver and release agreement prior to participating in the activity, no matter what age.
O.C. Parasail employees explained numerous times to those in line at the tiki-like hut, home to the parasail business on 54th Street, that a varying weight limit can change due to how windy it is. As a general rule, riders are expected to be no heavier than 350-400 pounds, single or combined weight for double riders. Children and young adults weighing less than 100 pounds must fly with another person.
“Air time is about 10 – 12 minutes depending on how high you choose to fly,” said Scott Lewis, boat captain and parasail boat captain. Higher rides usually allow for a longer parasailing experience.
“We take up to six flyers at a time. Most of them fly doubles,” said Lewis.
The team working the O.C. Parasail booth earlier this week also explained that spectators are not always permitted on parasailing boats due to Coast Guard regulation. Only a limited number of individuals are allowed to be on the vessel while the parasail is in operation. If spectators would like to join on the boat ride, they should make arrangements while making reservations. O.C. Parasail does offer professional photo services so participants can share their experience with others. Of course, family members, friends, and others can all witness a parasail-er zooming through the sky by simply looking up and over the bay during a designated flight.
The O.C. Parasail boats picks up riders from the dock and take them for a 20-minute ride while the staff prepares, sets up the parachute, and educates participants about safety procedures. After 10- 12 minutes of being pulled in the air gracefully behind a boat, another 30 minute boat ride will return riders back to a boat slip in OC. Both bayside and ocean-side rides are offered.
Scoping out the beautiful, panoramic views of Ocean City from above while hovering from a parachute several hundred feet from the ground is undeniably, quite a rush. There are three heights to choose from when booking a parasail ride with O.C. Parasail: 400 feet, 600 feet, or 800 feet. Prices for rides are $55, $65, or $85 depending on ride-height.
Many factors come into play while operating a parasail business and operating a boat: wind, tide, weather, temperature. Kevin Smith, O.C. Parasail owner, ensures that his veteran crew can provide all fliers with a safe, smooth, and dry parasail experience. O.C. Parasail has experienced operators that have completed more than 200,000 flights since 1984, and now the team has a fleet of four brand new boats to guarantee safety and comfort while on an excursion.
There are two O.C. Parasail location in Ocean City: 54th Street, bayside (right next to Macky’s Restaurant), and Talbot Street pier (right next to the Angler Restaurant). Reservations are highly recommended for those who plan on riding. It is encouraged that reservations be made at least 2 days in advance. Visit the O.C. Parasail website for more information, or find them on Facebook.