Last week I fulfilled one of my lifelong (well as long as I can remember) dreams to go skydiving. Yes, I have wanted to jump out of perfectly good plane to go barreling through the air in a free fall, only to trust on the security of a cloth tied to strings packed by a stranger who supposedly know what he or she is doing.
Obviously this is not how I feel about skydiving or I would not have done it. But that is how many of my family members (including my husband) felt about skydiving, as they shook their heads when I told them about my ambitions.
All in all, skydiving is not that dangerous of a sport if you compare it to other endeavors. In fact, statistically, you have more of a chance to die in a car accident than to die from skydiving. Think about that the next time you get behind the wheel.
But with everything there is an element of danger- especially when jumping out of a plane- so here are some ways I think you can make skydiving more safe and enjoyable.
- Go with someone who knows what they are doing. My instructor and tandem jumping partner has skydived more than 8,000 times without any injuries. That is a track record I want to be behind. Feel comfortable in asking your instructor or skydiving company about their track record and how reputable they are. Often times a quick Google search can help you find any salacious stories about them.
- Jump at a good time in your life. Everyone kept telling me that I should jump before I had kids because the desire will still be high, but you will not be so scared about the lives you may leave behind if you plunge to your death. So now was the perfect timing for me. My brother-in-law has prolonged skydiving a bit because he did not have health insurance. So timing must be right.
- On that note, have health insurance when you jump. Note that I said ‘health’ insurance. The chances of you getting injured are small, but insurance is there for the ‘just in case’. So if you have a hard landing you be glad you have some sort of insurance, whether it is Humana health insurance or otherwise.
- Know what you are getting into. If you hate heights, and the thought of jumping out of a plane at 11,000 feet makes you want to throw up, then skydiving is not for you. The jump is something to be enjoyed, so if you do not really want to do it, it is an expensive way to save face.
- Wear the correct gear. The skydiving company you go with will provide you with harness, parachute and goggles. but plane on wearing long pants so you do not scrape up your legs on a landing (I landed on gravel), and shoes that lace. My shoe came untied during the descent, so I was glad to have ones that laced.
Most of all, have fun. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life and I am so glad I did it.