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Published: June 29, 2022
No matter where you skydive, there is a skydiving age limit ... and, for the most part, in the US you'll find that the skydiving age is the same across the board. Here in New York at Skydive Long Island, we have the same legal age to skydive as most dropzones around the country: 18 years old. We know that there are many younger-than-18 future skydivers who are just itching to get their knees in the breeze (and we can't wait to take you up!), but there are very good reasons as to why there's a minimum age for skydiving.
When you make a tandem skydive, you are strapped to a tandem instructor by way of a harness. While our adjustable harnesses can comfortably fit many adults, most children and teens are smaller than the standard harness can accommodate. And the opposite is true. In some cases, the standard harness is too small for an individual. For safety reasons, it's imperative that the harness adequately adjust to the body and fit correctly.
There are also legal reasons why we have skydiving age requirements - and in a country like ours, where litigation is common, we don't mess around. Just like skydiving facilities across the world, Skydive Long Island requires waivers of legal liability and assumption of risk agreements to be filled out prior to your jump. You have to be at least 18 years old in order to legally decide for yourself that you want to make a skydive and sign your own waiver. We have been asked whether parents can sign waivers for their children, but parental waivers still have not been proven to be sufficient under the law.
Plus, while we try to mitigate risks as much as possible, skydiving is an inherently risky activity and we believe that you should be mature enough to decide for yourself if going skydiving is the right choice for you. (We hated to acknowledge it when we were 18 too, but as they say - the teenage brain isn't totally developed. So, yeah, bring your ID.)
Skydive Long Island is a member of an organization called the United States Parachute Association (USPA). The USPA creates rules and regulations for the sport of skydiving in order to help everyone stay safe and to maintain a good relationship between skydiving and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The USPA requires anyone who skydives at a USPA-member dropzone must be 18 years old. Any dropzone or tandem instructor who holds USPA membership (the vast majority do) must also abide by that rule.
We often get asked: can you skydive at 16? In the US, the answer is no. Drive, yes; skydive, no. It's 18 or bust. But the question is valid as there are countries where you can skydive at 16 - in Canada and France, for example. You can even be as young as 12 in Australia!
But there is good news! Teenagers do have alternatives! There are indoor skydiving centers (also called wind tunnels) that mimic the feeling of freefall all over the country, and most set their minimum age limit at just 3 years old. The closest wind tunnel to us is iFly Westchester, only about 70 miles to the west. Many experienced skydivers use wind tunnels to train in a concentrated environment. Teenagers who take the opportunity to have fun and work on their skills ahead of their first real-deal skydive are uber prepared!
While we do require that everyone be at least 18 years old before jumping at Skydive Long Island, we don't have a maximum skydiving age limit. If there are any health considerations or challenges you are concerned about, you'll definitely want to speak with your doctor before making the leap, but we have taken healthy adults of all ages skydiving.
Lots of senior adults commemorate their birthday, fulfill a wish on their bucket list, or fly just for fun. And they're in good company. The skydiving community has a number of self-made groups that cater to specific ages - there's the Parachutists Over Phorty Society (POPs), the Skydivers Over Sixty (SOS) and Jumpers Over Seventy (JOS) groups, the Jumpers Over Eighty Society (JOES), and even the Jumpers Over Ninety Society (JONS)! Don't let age stop you - you're never too old to skydive!
So, at what age can you skydive? From 18 to infinity! If you're at least 18 and ready to make your jump, then come skydive with us! And if you're not, then we can't wait to skydive with you when it's go time. (Pssst, it's a great idea for the ultimate birthday gift!)
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