Be cautious of certain online deals for activities like skydiving, deep sea fishing
NEWPORT, R.I. (WJAR) —
From deep sea fishing to skydiving, thanks to online discount deals, adrenaline-pumping experiences are suddenly a lot more affordable.
But, are they safe?
When you're 10,000 feet in the air, and there's nowhere to go but down, you want to be absolutely sure you're in good hands.
“We always recommend that everyone does their homework prior to picking a location to skydive,” Marc Tripari, owner of Skydive Newport, said.
For $59, you can drive a race car.
How about half off a helicopter ride?
In the age of discount coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social, these once-pricey adventures are no longer out of reach.
But how do you know the adventure you just booked is safe?
“There's not one place to go to vet the adventure travel, extreme sport type of experiences,” AAA Northeast Travel Administrator Carl Richardson warned.
Unless you're going through a travel agent, according to AAA, it's on you to research the company.
“It's certainly piecing together the pieces of information you get from their website, from social media, whether it be Yelp or TripAdvisor,” added Richardson.
“If they had a good experience, they'll say it,” saif Captain Charlie Donilon of Snappa Charters. “And of course, if they had a bad experience, they're going to include that, too.”
Snappa Charters offers deep sea fishing, whale watching -- even shark cage-diving trips out of Narragansett.
Donilon said, in addition to reviews, consumers should check with the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat association, which conducts random boat inspections and drug tests.
“You have to have a license to charter, and there are boats that do not have this license and they're doing it illegally,” cautioned Donilon.
Tripari said there are some questionable companies in the skydiving industry, as well.
“Some skydiving centers that offer Groupon rates have a lot of hidden charges,” Tripari said. “Secondly, skydiving centers that offer Groupon that don't upcharge you, now their price point is so low, to us it wouldn't meet our satisfaction to maintaining our air craft, maintaining our skydive equipment.”
Skydive Newport's license from the US Parachute associate, state of the art facility and nearly 250 glowing reviews were enough to convince NBC10’s Emily Volz to jump.
After a quick training session, she suited up and hopped in their cozy little Cessna.
“I'm feeling ready as I'll ever be,” shouted Volz, preparing to jump.
“Do you trust me?” asks her tandem partner.
“I trust you,” she responded.
“Alright, have a great skydive,” he said.
And she did.
It looks like those 246 five-star reviews were right.
If you’re planning an extreme adventure, the following agencies offer resources and guidance:
- Skydive: US Parachute Association
- Boat charters and fishing trips:
- Hot Air Balloons: Federal Aviation Administration
- Ziplines and ropes courses: The Association for Challenge Course Technology
- Rock climbing: The American Safe Climbing Association
- Helicopter tours: Federal Aviation Administration
Have fun -- and be safe!