It’s all fun and games until someone breaks the rules … at least that’s how it goes in skydiving. While there are spoken safety rules put in place to mitigate any danger (such as the restrictions regarding weight, age, and what one can wear), there are also unspoken rules that, when followed, make you a responsible and well-liked skydiver.
Basic safety requirements (BSRs)
BSRs are the skydiving industry’s generally agreed-upon standards set to establish a level of safety in the sport. They are like our pesky best friends: they might be annoying sometimes, but you know they’re always right and are just trying to look out for you.
One BSR, for example, sets the minimum age to skydive at 18 years old. That is why we strictly enforce this age limit at Skydive St. Louis! In fact, any dropzone (or skydiving facility) that is a member of the United States Parachute Association (of which we are proud members) has to follow the Basic Safety Requirements!
Is there a weight limit for skydiving?
Yes, there is! The weight limit for tandem students here at STL is 200lbs. But please know that we aren’t trying to exclude anyone. In fact, we do everything in our power to not let anyone feel left out. While we can accommodate someone up to 260lbs, please let us know beforehand so we can plan accordingly!
The reason we have a weight limit is because we have to keep in mind the limits of the skydiving airplane, the instructor, and the gear (harness and parachute). We have your safety at the tip top of our minds on every single jump, and even before you walk through the door! We abide by these rules in order to ensure the safest (and most fun) time possible for everyone involved.
Who should not skydive?
Anyone under the age of 18 or anyone with any major medical issues or history, such as heart or back issues, should probably not skydive. While these issues may not be of any concern, we recommend contacting your doc just to double-check!
What should you do when skydiving?
You may find yourself asking “what do I need to know before skydiving the first time?” In all honesty, tandem skydiving is pretty hard to mess up. Here are three things to keep in mind to enjoy your first skydiving experience:
1. Have fun!
What is the scariest part of skydiving? Saying “yes” to the whole kit and caboodle! But don’t all good things in life happen when you take that initial leap of faith? Skydiving is something that the majority of people in the world will never get to experience, and the first time is something special.
2. Listen to your instructor!
Your tandem instructor must have a minimum of 500 jumps with at least 3 years in the sport, an FAA class 3 medical, and hold a USPA D-license to even think about becoming a tandem instructor. Trust us when we say: you’re in good hands! Your instructor’s goal is to make sure you have the most fun possible – all while being safe. Any decision they make will be in your best interest and, in the event of an emergency, it is critical that you listen to them.
1, 2, 3, BANANA! You don’t need to be the most flexible and bendy hot dog in the fridge, but being able to arch a little sure does help. Place your hands on your hips, stick your hips forward with a slight bend in the knees, and then put your hands by your ears. You’re doing it!
Why is the arch important? The arch is the most stable freefall position and is the first one used by solo students and tandem students. The belly-to-earth position puts your center of gravity (your hips) in the middle, and provides the most surface area, meaning you’ll be as stable as possible.
Feet & knees UP!
Upon landing, your instructor will tell you to lift your feet and knees. This will lead to a smooth landing and prevent you or your instructor from tripping over your feet and face-planting (not a very cute landing shot).
The two "P"s
Practicing the power of patience will set you up for success and get you a long way in skydiving. Being a “heads-up” skydiver – meaning, being hyper-aware of yourself and your surroundings – while also being able to take constructive criticism is key to growing in the sport. Successful and admirable skydivers are genuinely looking to learn something on every single jump, encourage others to thrive in the sport, and put safety first.
The rules of skydiving are pretty straightforward, but if you have any questions or concerns feel free to get in touch! We can’t wait to soar through the skies with you soon!