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Skydiving Risks for Tandem Jumps


Today, skydiving videos and articles are so prominent, that it can seem like everyone is doing it – like it ain’t nothing but a thang! With this overwhelming amount of positive information, we may start to think we’ve been under the wrong, spooky impression this entire time and wonder, is skydiving safe? And how safe is tandem skydiving? Both questions you absolutely should ask. What may come as a surprise is that statistically speaking, tandem skydiving is the safest way to enjoy skydiving for the first time. 

This article will dive into the most common skydiving risks, how we’re intentional about placing safety first, and get you in the right headspace for your first jump! 

How Safe Is Skydiving? 

Huuuuge advancements have been made in the skydiving safety realm since the start of the sport. With constantly evolving technologies and an increase in safety-oriented culture, the risks of skydiving are lower now than in previous years. Enforcing common sense for ourselves and others is one of the most effective safety tools in skydiving, and this mentality is proven daily by members of the skydiving community. 

How many skydives happen every year? Since the beginning of the sport, the number of annual skydives has only increased. In 2023 alone, our governing body – the United States Parachute Association (USPA) – estimated that 3.65 MILLION skydives were made. Likewise, the overall safety of the sport has improved throughout generations.

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What Is Tandem Skydiving? 

Tandem skydiving is the most popular form of jumping and entails a student (you) harnessed and secured to a highly professional instructor (us). Although the student plays a critical role in the skydive (listen to your instructor!) the instructor is responsible for managing the skydive, from freefall and deployment to landing. This eliminates the need for extensive training before the jump – tandem students only need about 20 minutes of training! 

Tandem skydiving is a fantastic way to be introduced to the sport, and to find out if it’s a one-and-done deal for you, or if you quickly fall in love with it (we’re confident in the latter)! Lucky for those who do desire to take another gander in the great, blue sky, we offer solo skydiving certification through our Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) Program. 

How Safe Is Tandem Skydiving With An Instructor? 

Are tandem skydiving instructors just a bunch of random dudes and dudettes who we picked up the morning of your tandem skydive? Noooo, far from it! 

What credentials do tandem skydiving instructors have? Tandem instructors (TI’s) have to meet a plethora of requirements and go through intensive training before they can even think about taking first-timers for a jump. They must have a minimum of 500 skydives, have at least three years in the sport, and obtain a Class III medical certification, demonstrating their physical health for the demands of the job. 

These instructors aren’t there solely for the technical aspects of the jump. They also make sure you have the best overall experience. They ensure your equipment surpasses par and can calm your pre-jump jitters and gladly answer your questions. Remember, TI’s do their job because they love skydiving and they are passionate about introducing people to the sky for the first time. 

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How Often Do Tandem Skydiving Accidents Happen? 

There are no fatal tandem skydiving accidents on record for 2023. Previously, considering a 10-year average, there was one fatality for every 500,000 tandem jumps annually. These facts underscore the stringent safety measures taken on every single jump. The jumping community has a joint commitment to betterment. Dedication to safety protocols, ongoing evaluations, and continuous education allows us to equip ourselves with the most relevant knowledge and techniques – resulting in an unwavering commitment to safety. 

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What Are Common Risks Associated With Tandem Skydiving? 

Risks associated with tandem skydiving are (mostly) the same as those solo jumpers face. Let’s look at some common risks and how they can be mitigated, or totally avoided. 

Canopy malfunction

This is why we have two parachutes! If the main canopy has an issue, which is rare due to numerous and rigorous gear checks, then your instructor will act accordingly, and deploy the reserve parachute. Every single tandem skydiving rig has two parachutes, no exceptions. 

Skydiving Landing

Tandem skydivers zoom in for landing in a controlled manner. While coming in to land (woop woop!) it’s critical to listen to your instructor’s direction. The most common risks associated with landings are twisted or rolled ankles and lightly scraped bottoms. 

Medical concerns

If you have a medical concern – such as a whacked-out back, shoulder, or neck, a heart issue or high blood pressure, or anything else that is not managed – consult a doctor before your jump. We always err on the side of caution, and while plenty of solo jumpers and tandem students jump with these concerns, it’s better to get the go-ahead beforehand! 

Motion sickness

We debated adding this to the list because it is so scanty. That being said, it is possible to feel a bit green from a skydive! Why? The adrenaline combined with a lack of food and hydration, mixed with a parachute flight! This is one of those “risks” that is preventable through proper preparation for the jump. We would also like to note, that if you know you’re prone to motion sickness, let us know! As we mentioned earlier, your instructor is there to make sure you have a fabulous day all around; communicating your tummy concerns with them will help them, to help you. 

Have any other questions or concerns? Let us know! We can already feel the epicness of your jump – see you soon! Blue skies.

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