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Old 21-06-2014, 07:49   #1
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Dopes on Ropes

Do we have any parasailing boat operators on this board, who can explain to me why they like to drag their hapless victims, er customers through the rigging of boats in channels?

Coming out of a port in the Bahamas; narrow channel, reefs either side, when parasailer boat crosses in front, then turns around and crosses again even closer. This time clueless tourist looks down and waves at us. She was maybe 100 ft up, and we have a 60-ft stick. Anything went wrong and we'd have a non-paying passenger hanging from the mast.

Reminded me of a similar incident from years ago, when I was taking a naval frigate into Puerto Vallarta. We were past the point of no return, committed to the channel, when some idiot parasailer boat that was travelling along the shore turned in, to cut right in front of the bow. The rope passed low over the foc'sle and above the bridge, so I didn't see how close he came, but the guys on deck figured he missed being impaled on an antenna, by inches.

Talking to local about our incident, just got a shaking of the head. Apparently there have been a number of "accidents", ropes breaking, etc. Anyone here go parasailing in a country with, shall we say, less strict safety regulations?
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Old 21-06-2014, 07:59   #2
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It always amazes me at the chances some captains will take. When I was operating I always assumed that the engine could stall at any time. The line could snap. The wind could increase or decrease.
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Old 21-06-2014, 19:51   #3
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Re: Dopes on ropes

That's my thinking. I wonder was there any pressure from the boss, or customers to give them a thrill or a better top-down look at other boats?
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Old 21-06-2014, 20:25   #4
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Re: Dopes on ropes

Everybody is for safety in principle, but when it becomes inconvenient or expensive, then you have a group forming who couldn't care less-like you described. You don't win popularity contests advocating safety. I recently had a rumble with pilots on an aviation thread here who were comfortable with risky flying as long as their interpretation of the regulations allowed it. Safe sailing and flying require dicipline and if you don't possess that, then there is no room for you here.
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Old 21-06-2014, 20:40   #5
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Re: Dopes on ropes

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Reminded me of a similar incident from years ago, when I was taking a naval frigate into Puerto Vallarta. We were past the point of no return, committed to the channel, when some idiot parasailer boat that was travelling along the shore turned in, to cut right in front of the bow. The rope passed low over the foc'sle and above the bridge, so I didn't see how close he came, but the guys on deck figured he missed being impaled on an antenna, by inches.

Talking to local about our incident, just got a shaking of the head. Apparently there have been a number of "accidents", ropes breaking, etc. Anyone here go parasailing in a country with, shall we say, less strict safety regulations?
Wow...deja vu!
Same happened to me in PV when we were doing adventure cruises between PV and Acapulco.

This was on a 190' steam yacht and I had just cleared the breakwater and rung up to half speed....

Parasailor boat tacks in for a closer look then turns in front of me

Towline snags on SSB antenna and I watch as customer is reeled in towards our smoke stack.

Luckily on our steam ship (Ex Norwegian Whale Catcher) a crash stop is very effective as we spun to starboard and freed the catch.

In those days we spent a lot of standby time in PV and saw or heard about the customer hitting the hotel balconies a few times when the boat's engine failed.
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Old 21-06-2014, 21:56   #6
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Re: Dopes on ropes

Apparently the operators in PV refuse to learn from their mistakes. Guess they just carry on as usual and wait for the next bunch of unsuspecting rubes to step off the boat/plane.
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Old 22-06-2014, 01:09   #7
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Some owners want you to operate regardless of weather conditions. I've also had to deal with irate customers that couldn't understand why i wouldn't fly them during a lightning storm. I've also had parents come talk to me before they send their kids out on the boat. Deadpan I told them it was my first day but I watched the video and I'm pretty sure I know how everything works. Every single one said okay. Which reminds me of one of the favorite jokes of other captains would be to yell to me just as I'm leaving the dock, good luck on your first day! No one ever said they didn't want to fly
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Old 22-06-2014, 03:32   #8
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Re: Dopes on ropes

How about flying folks when thunderclouds are present. Always wanted to be a Ben Franklin experiment ?
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Old 22-06-2014, 04:11   #9
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Re: Dopes on ropes

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How about flying folks when thunderclouds are present. Always wanted to be a Ben Franklin experiment ?

You would be more than an experiment in most recreational aircraft. They get the controls fried if hit by lightening
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Old 22-06-2014, 06:18   #10
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Re: Dopes on Ropes

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Deadpan I told them it was my first day but I watched the video and I'm pretty sure I know how everything works.
Brilliant

Funny how some people lose their sense of self-preservation on holiday. I guess we don't have to look far when soliciting nominations for the Darwin awards.
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Old 22-06-2014, 09:18   #11
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Re: Dopes on Ropes

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Talking to local about our incident, just got a shaking of the head. Apparently there have been a number of "accidents", ropes breaking, etc. Anyone here go parasailing in a country with, shall we say, less strict safety regulations?
Parasailing is in the category of bungee jumping - anyone who does it is an idiot.

We watched a couple in phuket crash and burn on a tandem ride - two chutes, two ropes, one boat. On shore wind must have been gusting to 30+

They launch and the boat doesn't make much headway to sea. In fact they are going up and backwards towards the hotel.

We were by the pool watching this. Not sure what happened next but they made some headway to sea - not much - then it appeared the lines went slack on both chutes - breeze abated chutes dropped? anyway the boat took off and when the slack came out both lines broke.

both chutes turned downwind. She hit the hotel and died. He cleared the hotel and went into power lines - I understand he ended up losing a leg.

Another time we were on the beach and this poor fat chick came in hot sweeping across the beach rather than the boat getting stabilized heading towards sea again. Her husband had just gone (honeymoon) - She sailed over us at about 12 feet and landed in the sand with a loud crack - broke her ankle. Nice honeymoon.

Nope - No parasailing for me - never fond of putting my life in the hands of a guy with a 3rd grade education.
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