The Tied High, a 31-foot passenger vessel, departed from its
dock in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., at 1 p.m., on August 28, 2009,
with eight adult passengers and four minors, to take part in
a parasailing excursion. The passengers aboard the vessel
did not receive a safety brief by the captain prior to getting
The two-person crew, consisting of a captain
and deckhand, observed overcast skies, winds out of the
northeast at 12 to 17 miles per hour (mph), two-to four-foot
swells, 84 degree Fahrenheit air temperature, and water
temperature in the mid 80s.
Just as the captain proceeded to the Atlantic Ocean through
the Shallotte Inlet, the overcast sky soon turned to rain.
Two die after parasail towline parts.
by Ms. Sarah K. Webster
In this ongoing feature, we take a close look at recent marine casualties. We outline
the U.S. Coast Guard marine casualty investigations that followed, which explore how
these incidents occurred, including any environmental, vessel design, or human-error
factors that contributed to each event.
Article information, statistics, conclusions, and quotes come from the f inal,
promulgated Coast Guard investigation report.
from USCG Casualty Investigations
Proceedings Fall 2014
Moreover, shortly after the vessel's departure from the dock,
Wilmington's National Weather Service issued a special
weather statement at 1:01 p.m., for the parasail operating
area, via NOAA's Weather Channel:
"At 1258 PM EDT … showers and thunderstorms were
producing heavy rain … along a line extending from
7 miles southeast of Topsail Beach to 6 miles south
of Southport …moving west at 35 mph. These thun-
derstorms will produce heavy rainfall of up to three-
quarters of an inch. Brief wind gusts to 30 mph are
In August 2009, two people lost their lives while
parasailing. What star ted out as a popular
summer adventure soon turned deadly, when
thunderstorms arrived, winds picked up, and the
parasail's towline parted.