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How Old Do You Have to Be to Skydive?


Curtis Posted by: Curtis White 2 months ago

Skydiving is an exhilarating experience that offers the ultimate thrill of free-falling and parachuting from a plane, but, as with almost all extreme activities, it comes with strict age requirements to ensure safety. Across the globe, the minimum age for skydiving varies, typically ranging from 16 to 18 years. Most countries set the legal threshold at 18 to ensure that participants are mature enough to understand and accept the risks involved, as well as to legally consent to the activity. But what about the United States? How old do you have to be to parachute?

In the US, the simple answer is: usually 18 years old. But there’s more to the story than just an arbitrary number. Some common questions we get around skydiving age limits include:

Despite each one of those ages being significant milestones, none of them include the ability to go skydiving in the US. Keep reading to answer the questions, “How old do you have to be to go skydiving?” and, “Why??”

skydiving age restrictions

You Must be 18 Years Old to Skydive in the US

That’s right, in most cases, you have to be an “official adult” before you can leap. The reasoning behind this restriction lies in the physical and mental maturity needed to handle the demands of skydiving. It also has to do with the mental capacity required to legally sign a contract or waiver. Individuals over the age of 18 are typically more physically developed and have a better understanding of risk assessment and decision-making. 

Safety is our number one priority at Skydive New England. We want to make sure that you are physically and mentally able to handle the challenge of skydiving, and it’s also important that the gear fits you correctly. All of these considerations go into deciding on the minimum age requirement for skydiving. 

The good news is, even though there’s a minimum age requirement, there is no maximum age limit in skydiving! So you can enjoy the sky for the rest of your life once you turn 18! 

And don’t forget to bring your ID on the day of your jump! You must show a valid, government-issued ID to prove your identity and your age to get into the airplane. Plus, who doesn’t love the confidence boost of having to prove they aren’t still a kid? 

Who Makes the Skydiving Age Restriction Rules?

The 18-year-old age requirement is set by a mix of authoritative bodies that have jurisdiction over skydiving operations in the United States. The vast majority of skydiving dropzones in the US are United States Parachute Association (USPA) members and, as such, follow the rules and regulations set according to the USPA Group Member Pledge

The USPA guidelines include a requirement for all skydivers to sign a liability waiver and, according to law, a person must be at least 18 years old to sign a legally binding contract. 

The reason for this is based on the assumption that individuals under 18 lack the necessary maturity and understanding to make legally binding agreements. At the age of 18, most individuals are considered to have the mental capacity to understand the rights and obligations involved in a contract. It also ensures that contracts are entered into voluntarily and without coercion, as could be the case with someone signing on behalf of a child.  

In other words, for our waivers to be legitimate in the eyes of the law and the USPA, the people signing them must meet the legal age requirement. The USPA follows all rules and regulations set out by the FAA, and as a USPA member dropzone, Skydive New England is also committed to upholding those standards. 

how old to skydive

Other Skydiving Options for Under 18

Of course, all of these rules apply only to the US. So in what country can you skydive at 14? Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom all allow kids under 18 to skydive. But if you’re not looking to take an international vacation just so your kid can skydive a few years early, there are other options to enjoy right in the US! 

The most closely related activity to skydiving that’s also kid-friendly is indoor skydiving. Flying in the indoor wind tunnel feels a lot like actual skydiving, without the altitude. And most tunnels will allow children as young as three years old! That means that you and your kid can experience the sensation and excitement of body flight long before you can share the dream of jumping out of an airplane. And heck, imagine how good they’ll be at skydiving if they learn how to fly as a toddler! 

Another option for kids under 18 is to hang out at the dropzone and watch you make your jump. They can still share in the special moment with you, and seeing how exciting your experience is will get them even more amped up for their eventual jump. One of the best ways to calm the nerves around skydiving is to know what to expect, so bringing them along before they can jump themselves will help them be even more prepared for when they finally can. 

There’s a lot about going skydiving for the first time that may feel mysterious. What will it feel like? How safe is skydiving? How old do you have to be to skydive? All of these questions and more can be answered by checking out our website, or by making a jump yourself! Ready to enjoy the privileges of adulthood? Come fly with us today!! Blue skies!