How Safe Is Tandem Skydiving?
Skydiving lets you experience the dream of unpowered flight as unbounded blue horizons, beautiful scenery, colorful canopies, and flowing adrenaline create feelings of ecstasy. Each jump is an expression of joy and freedom.
That’s why it may be surprising to learn that skydiving is actually highly regulated, carefully controlled, and closely monitored. The focus is on safety in all aspects of the activity from gear preparation through the flight up to the landing touchdown. The training and certification process is lengthy and costly, equipment maintenance requirements are rigorous, and detailed record-keeping is the standard operating procedure.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
When considered on a global basis, the massive yearly volume of skydives produces a huge quantity of data. In the USA, every reputable skydiving operation including Skydive Key West maintains affiliation with and only hires instructors certified by the 40,000-plus member United States Parachute Association. Comprehensive annual surveys by the USPA provide a look at the skydiving safety record.
The USPA safety data shows consistent improvement over the past 2 decades even as the yearly number of jumps has increased. For 2019, USPA records show only 15 U.S. skydiving fatalities out of roughly 3.3 million jumps. The record is even better for tandem skydiving, with only one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade.
Expanding the view to Europe, a 2020 French study reinforces the USPA data. In 6.2 million jumps over the 10 years 2010-2019, there were 35 skydiving fatalities. None involved tandem skydivers, who also had a significantly lower risk of any type of injury than experienced solo skydivers.
The chances of being killed by lightning strike, bee sting, or dog bite are far higher. The daily drive to work is positively deadly. Yes, there is a risk to skydiving, but the reward goes beyond extreme fun to the potential for changes in personal attitude and outlook that many jumpers find to be life-changing.
Also keep in mind that the vast majority of skydiving accidents occur when skydivers are attempting advanced maneuvers with high-performance equipment. In other cases, jumpers are taking chances that would never be part of the picture at a quality tandem skydive dropzone like Skydive Key West.
Safe Skydive Systems
Advances in equipment technology over the years have done a lot to ensure a solid safety margin for skydivers. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require tandem parachute rigs to be equipped with main and reserve parachutes as well as an ADD – a small computer that measures descent rate and altitude to deploy the reserve parachute at a safe altitude no matter what happens.
The chute containers, main harness, and passenger harness have been designed, built, and tested for safety and comfort. Many rig refinements come from military research and development work, where gear is put under stress in the toughest possible conditions. Skydive Key West uses only top-of-the-line equipment from United Parachute Technologies, one of the original inventors of the tandem skydiving rig, and all tandem gear is inspected and replaced on a strict schedule.
Live Life Fully
Millions of people have found that the high reward/low risk ratio of tandem skydiving makes the experience a must-do. Whether it’s a bucket list item to check off, or you want to experience the possibilities of a great new hobby, tandem skydiving in the U.S. does not get better than a jump over the Florida Keys. On a clear day here, the view can stretch from beyond Key West to the 7-Mile Bridge.
Step up and grab the adventure life has to offer with a tandem skydive at Skydive Key West. Call 305-396-8806 or email [email protected] to set up your jump.