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Stay safe while enjoying the 4th of July festivites

Soon the 4th of July holiday weekend will be here, traditionally a time when many families head toward the coast to soak up some sun along the sandy beaches.

One popular beachside activity for vacationers is parasailing, gliding high above the waves while being towed by a boat below. But this can be quite a risky enterprise, and safety has to always be paramount to avoid a tragedy.

This is definitely an instance where you don't want to necessarily choose the cheapest company offering parasailing rides on the beach. You want to make sure that the crew piloting the boat and operating the equipment has plenty of experience with parasailing, and that their equipment — ropes, chutes, harnesses — is in good condition with no signs of wear and tear.

Before taking off, the operator should spend a few minutes going over some basic hand signals for those in the air to be able to communicate with those in the boat.

Prior to setting out, do a final spot check of the weather. A quick scan of the horizon should suffice, but entering the zip code into The Weather Channel app on a smartphone can also clue you in to any developing squall lines that could affect your maiden flight. A steady breeze is good; strong gusts can be deadly. Parasailers in recent years along Florida beaches have been blown off course and severely injured due to strong wind gusts separating their tethers from the boats that were towing them.

If you are injured over the July 4th weekend, either in a beach activity or in a traffic accident on the way to or from your destination, you may have a cause of action to pursue a claim for damages against the at-fault party or parties.

Source: Ocean City Parasail, "4 Parasailing Tips for Beginners," accessed June 24, 2016

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