As far as vacation thrills go, parasailing is simple enough concept: One or two passengers attached to a parachute fastened to a motorboat cruise in the air as the boat glides on the water. And if you don't feel like just hanging back in the shallow end of the pool on your next beach-side vacation - and with winter approaching, now would be a great time for it - then parasailing may be what you're looking for.
But before you hop on a boat and strap on a shoot, there are a few things you need to know. But first, a little history:
A Brief History of Parasailing
French engineer Pierre-Marcel Lemoigne is credited with creating the first towable parachute. Rather than applying it for recreational use, Lemoigne envisioned that they would instead be employed by skydivers and the military to produce a more maneuverable shoot and improve the safety of the flight.
The inspiration for the towable parachute as a recreational device came from an unlikely source: NASA. The space agency used the modified chute as part of survival training should pilots have to eject from aircraft over water.
After tour operators caught on to the act in the late 1960s, parasailing grew to be a common sight along coastlines drawing a crowd. New technology has followed as parasailing has increased in popularity, adding more passengers to a single ride, bringing passengers higher than they could have reached before, and of course improving the safety of the experience.
Not everyone could make it out to the water to parasail, however.
As with any gravity-defying thrill, there is an element of danger to parasailing. Although a licensed and fully insured commercial parasailing operator with a trained crew should be capable of ensuring safety during the experience, passengers should still familiarize themselves with possible hazards during their ride.