Pop quiz: What does a parent need more than anything else? Let’s be real: Reassurance. Reassurance that everything is going to be okay for their little one (or their teenager, or their thirty-something). And there are few more reliable ways to make mom and dad (or mom and mom, or dad and dad) worry than announcing you’re about to make your first tandem skydive.
Worry not! If you’re the lucky kid of a couple of boss-level worriers, hang in there. We have a few pointers to help everybody get through it without overmuch crying.
Your first step here is to research dropzones in your area, because, as it turns out, it does matter where you make your jump.
A great place to start looking is the database maintained by the United States Parachute Association. USPA member dropzones (like us!) follow a higher standard of safety, training and maintenance than other dropzones, and they’re more closely regulated.
The United States Parachute Association — which you just learned about, you savvy skydiving student, you — has been carefully collecting statistics for many years. Those numbers put right there in black-and-white numbers that the safety of skydiving is not only significantly better than most “extreme” activities, it’s only getting better with time. Don’t believe us? Look at these safety statistics.
You’ll note that, according to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning than he or she is to be killed on a skydive. In fact, that statistic references actual skydiving athletes, many of whom make a hundred jumps or more per month. Tandem skydiving is even safer! Skydiving is, also, weirdly enough, statistically safer than vacuuming, which you might be able to use to get out of that chore, depending on your parents.
Not only will skydiving make you noticeably more confident, risk-smart and better-looking (maybe fact-check that last one), which will help you in those upcoming job interviews: Skydiving might end up being your professional career.
Gonzo? Kinda. But true. Plenty of new skydivers make that first jump for their 18th birthday and never really end up leaving the dropzone. It’s incredible how many perfectly sane, responsible people have made careers of skydiving, happily logging many thousands of successful, injury-free jumps in the process. Your parents might be totally bamboozled by that little gem, but try anyway. Maybe play this one as career research.
Turbo-charged family bonding time? Heck yeah! Lots of our younger jumpers were completely convinced that their parents would be dead set against them making a skydive, only to find out that they were going to be sharing a plane with the keen parentals. You’ll never know until you ask!
Keep the timing of that ‘ask’ on the level, though. The minimum age to tandem skydive at a USPA skydiving center is 18. You’ll have to show a valid government photo ID to prove it, too. No parental permission will get you around that simple fact, so you don’t even need to bother having an awkward conversation with your parents at age 17 ½ .
So whaddaya say? C’mon, young padawan, and start that conversation.