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Published: April 21, 2022
Though it might appear like skydivers are a bunch of adrenaline-seekers looking for a thrill, there are strict skydiving rules and regulations that we are required to follow. Skydiving requirements range from weather regulations to age and weight requirements. Adhering to rules like these helps us all to stay safe, which makes doing what we love so much more enjoyable and rewarding. Here's the skinny on skydiving regulations and protocols -
Skydiving is very much a weather-dependent activity. In order to make operations as safe and fun as possible, we are constantly checking the weather. Wind, rain, and clouds are among the most common weather conditions that can cause a delay or cancellation to your skydiving reservation. Gusts you can see and feel make a wind-related delay easy to understand, but sometimes wind is no issue on the ground but is too strong at altitude for us to confidently skydive - and if we're not confident in the conditions, we don't fly. Safety first, always.
Wind delays make sense to everyone - no one wants to be under their parachute with unpredictable winds - but you might be curious as to why rain prevents us from jumping. Well, take a moment to imagine falling 120 mph through the air and hitting hundreds of water droplets ... ouch! Skydiving in the rain is painful. It's way better to wait out the weather so you can jump without being pelted by the rain. As for clouds and fog, we can't jump through anything that prevents us from seeing where we are falling. When there are too many clouds in the sky below the altitude that we jump from, then we can't see other skydivers, aircraft, or even where we want to land! No bueno.
As we all know, forecasts can be wrong. Because of this, we typically wait until the day of jump operations to make a decision on whether we will fly or not. If you have a weather question or concern, feel free to call us on the day of your jump before heading to the dropzone so we can give you our best prediction for the day's weather. If you're unable to skydive on the day of your jump due to weather, we'll gladly reschedule your jump. As we like to say in skydiving, it's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the sky than in the sky wishing you were on the ground!
The skydiving age requirement to jump with us at Skydive Long Island is 18. As a member of the USPA (United States Parachute Association), an organization that has established safety standards for the sport of skydiving, we are careful to comply with industry rules and regulations. All USPA-member dropzones are required to enforce a minimum jump age of 18 years old - so bring your valid, government-issued photo ID as proof of your date of birth! Permission from a parent or guardian will not suffice.
As for a maximum age limit, there isn't one! As long as you are in relatively good health, then your age is just a number. As a matter of fact, the current record holder for the oldest person completing a tandem skydive was 103 years and 181 days at the time of his 2020 jump. If you have a medical condition that makes you wonder if skydiving is a good idea, talk with your doctor before booking your jump.
The weight limit to jump at Skydive Long Island is 225 lbs for people who are height-to-weight proportionate. The reasons why we have this weight requirement for skydiving is directly related to your comfort and safety, and to that of your instructor; it is not intended to be punitive or discriminatory.
When you jump, your skydiving harness must fit snugly and appropriately. The harnesses are adjustable and can accommodate a range of body weights and sizes, but there is a limit to their adaptability (this is also why your height to weight proportion matters, even if you're under the weight limit). Another reason for the weight limit is because parachutes have a maximum exit weight, typically 500 lbs. So, while 225 lbs might not seem like a lot of weight, you must also take the weight of your instructor and the weight of the gear into account.
The sum total of everything and everyone on the plane is also extremely important for the weight and balance of the aircraft. The planes we use in the skydiving industry are much smaller than what you're most likely used to. Unlike commercial aircraft, minor weight differences can have a big impact on the performance of our small-but-mighty planes.
Because of the inherent risks associated with skydiving, we require everyone to sign a release and waiver of liability before jumping. Waivers are an industry standard in skydiving, and are common before participating in most any activity these days, from riding a horse to jumping at a trampoline park, and especially those activities that are considered extreme.
Tandem skydiving has a great safety record. According to the USPA, 2021 was the safest year in recorded skydiving history. Of the 3.57 million jumps completed at more than 210 USPA-member dropzones last year, there were a total of 10 fatalities - including zero student fatalities. At a rate of 0.28 fatalities per 100,000 jumps, statistically-speaking you are more likely to die from a motor vehicle accident, lightning strike or even bee sting.
Now you know the ins and outs of skydiving requirements and rules, come check out what jumping from a perfectly good airplane is all about! Book online or call us to reserve your spot in the sky. We can't wait to help you make memories that will last a lifetime. Blue skies!
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