How Safe is Tandem Skydiving?

How Safe is Tandem Skydiving?

Published: July 31, 2020

As a skydiving center you may think we'll tow the line and share that it's perfectly safe, but we won't do that. (We like to keep it real, here!). We're going to hone in on some important questions related to the safety of tandem skydiving.

If you've landed on this page, it's likely you're *thinking* about making a tandem skydive and you're rightly doing your homework by asking an important question: how safe is tandem skydiving? As a skydiving center you may think we'll tow the line and share that it's perfectly safe, but we won't do that. (We like to keep it real, here!). We're going to hone in on some important questions related to the safety of tandem skydiving.

How Safe Is Tandem Skydiving?

Of all the skydiving disciplines within the sport, tandem skydiving is one of the safest ways to make a skydive because of the stringent training requirements of tandem skydive instructors and the equipment used. While tandem skydiving is one of the statistically safest ways to skydive, it's important to note that tandem skydiving isn't without risk. You can be killed tandem skydiving. That said, there isn't anything in life that has zero risk. As individuals we each must determine how much risk we're willing to take in our lives. For you to determine whether tandem skydiving is a risk worth taking, it's important to review some data.

Tandem Skydiving Safety Statistics

As published on the United States Parachute Association (USPA) website, the fatality rate shows one tandem student fatality occurs for every 500,000 jumps made. Based on this statistic, an individual is more likely to die from a bee sting or to be struck by lightning.

Tandem Skydiving Safety - New York Skydiving

While the likelihood of dying from a tandem skydive is low, it is possible to be injured making a tandem skydive and it usually occurs on landing. While injury from a tandem skydive doesn't happen often, it does occur and it's usually a result of a firm landing or on the occasion that a tandem student is unable to lift their legs up during the landing sequence. The most common type of injuries range from a sprained ankle to a broken leg. In the video example below, you can see the importance of a tandem student lifting their legs during the final approach to landing.

Tandem Skydiving and Your General Health

While the risk of injury when making a tandem skydive is relatively low, it's not an equal risk quotient for everyone. It's important to note that being in relatively good physical shape is important in order to reduce the risk of injury. Individuals with lower back pain, shoulder pain, a heart condition or anything that hinders mobility should consult with a doctor before skydiving. Also, it's important to note that anyone with sinus issues should not skydive in order to prevent pain or damage to one's sinuses.

Making a tandem skydive while having any of the conditions listed above doesn't disqualify individuals from jumping, but it's something to consider when making the decision to skydive.

Tandem Skydiving Safety During COVID-19

This is a topic we didn't expect to be talking about in 2019, but here we are - a new set of safety protocols for tandem skydiving amidst a global pandemic. As referenced here, Skydive Long Island has updated its operating procedures in our attempt to mitigate the risk and spread of COVID-19. Like anything else, protecting against this invisible illness cannot be guaranteed as tandem skydiving does not allow for social distancing when in the aircraft and free falling. Below are some of the changes we've made to our operating procedures:

  • When not skydiving, we require six feet of separation between people.

  • Facial covering (over mouth and nose) at all times except during freefall. For freefall we will be providing a free neck buff to be pulled up over the mask.

  • Every jumper must completely fill and sign a Legal Release, Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk Agreement BEFORE arriving at our facilities.

  • We have reduced the capacity of our jump operations.

  • For those wanting to limit exposure to additional people, single flights are available on request (at an additional charge).

  • Increased hand sanitizer dispensers available.

  • Bathrooms are limited to two people at a time.

  • Standard social practices such as handshaking and high-fives in celebration of skydives have been discouraged.

  • More rigorous cleaning of our aircraft has been incorporated as well as the sanitization of skydiving equipment used by students and staff.

  • New cleaning schedules and protocols for facilities, aircraft, and equipment.

  • Temperature checks upon arrival. Covid questionnaires required upon arrival.

  • We have goggles, surgical masks, kn95 masks and neck buff style coverings available for purchase.

  • We are committed to doing all we can to protect our students and fellow team members responsibly. Our approach is to move forward with caution.

Tandem Skydiving Safety During COVID-19

How To Select A Safety-Conscious Place for Tandem Skydiving

Within the world of skydiving, there isn't a Consumer Reports magazine for skydiving centers. Doing some old fashioned research is the best way to go about selecting the best skydiving center near you. It's important to note that similar to any other business, there are some operators that are better than others. Considering the risk involved with making a skydive, it's important to choose a skydiving center based on their reputation versus the closest skydiving operator near you or the cheapest! When it comes to skydiving, cheapest isn't best!

The starting point to identifying the best skydiving center for tandem skydiving is the reviews. Reading Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor reviews is advised as it will give you a sense of their service. If they dropzone replies to reviews, how do they handle the negative ones?

We'd also recommend calling the dropzone and getting a sense of their professionalism. Another strategy is to search for the skydiving center within the news section of Google to identify if there have been any incidents. Not all skydiving incidents are well reported in the news, but it's a good idea to ask the dropzone you're calling about any of the incidents listed (if any). Lastly, ask your friends on social media if they've jumped and request recommendations. You'll be surprised to learn how many of your friends have been skydiving!

We hope this article has brought some clarity with regard to the safety of tandem skydiving and the inherent risks involved. We'd be happy to answer your questions or please review our FAQs.

Should you decide to skydive... have a great time!!!!

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Thank you Erika and Joe for making my, my brother's and my cousin's first jump a memorable experience. And the videos and pictures are amazing, to boot. You guys are good at everything!

» Lashawn F.

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