Close

How Old Do You Have To Be To Skydive?

How Old Do You Have To Be To Skydive?

Published: November 15, 2016

Technically speaking, you can be any age at all to make a skydive. Someone just has to find a harness small enough to hold you firmly, and you're likely to make it to the ground in one piece.

That, of course, is not any kind of useful answer.

Most of the folks that ask us about skydiving age limits are first-time skydivers with eager teens tugging at their sleeves. That said: there are a couple important bits of qualifying information that change everything. Here's the sentence as it really needs to be asked, for our purposes:

How old do you have to be to make a legal skydive in the United States?

This is a very simple answer: 18.

Skydiving operations in other countries--Europe and Australia, for instance, where hop-happy high schoolers have been traveling to get their certifications for many years--don't have a skydiving age limit. In several countries outside the USA, kids as young as 12 can have a go as a tandem student. Kids not much older than that are welcome to earn their solo skydiving license. Here in the good old U. S. of A., however, that's an absolute, gold-plated NOPE.

Why? Most importantly: Other countries are less litigious. (That means that if something happened to your teen during the course of that overseas skydive and you tried to sue the dropzone, you'd be laughed at and shut thoroughly, immediately down.) In the USA, the very real threat of lawsuit prevents any dropzone from allowing legal minors to make any kind of jump--no matter who signs on their behalf, and no matter how good, talented, smart and responsible a kid they might be. There are, unfortunately, absolutely no exceptions to this rule. See graph below for more info on minimum skydiving age limit for various countries.

Aside from that, there's another layer of complication. The United States Parachute Association--the oversight organization for our sport, which puts forth the sport's carefully researched body of best practices--has determined that it's unsafe for under-18s to fly. Since that limitation has been laid down in the USPA's Basic Safety Requirements, it means that a tandem instructor who agrees to jump with a student under 18 risks having his or her tandem rating revoked for the violation. Our tandem instructors love to fly--they wouldn't risk their joy and livelihood.

Looking for a different option? Check out the indoor skydiving wind tunnel. In the wind tunnel, because there's no parachute or plane involved, kids can hone their freefallin' chops at as young an age as 3. Take note: kids with extensive wind tunnel training are amazing in the air once they finally celebrate that 18th birthday by making a real live skydive from a plane. From that day forward, they can simply work on learning how to fly a parachute. Our closest wind tunnel is SkyVenture New Hampshire, just 40 miles away. It's so close that your kids can watch you make a jump and be playing around in the relative wind themselves on the other side of lunchtime. Fun, right?

One more note on this: A skydive is, hands-down, the best 18th-birthday present you can give. It's an incredible way to ring in the first day of actual-factual adulthood--and it's an unforgettable moment for the giver, too. If you're 18, and ready to take the leap, book your skydive at Jumptown near Boston.

Skydiving Age by Country:

Country

Minimum Age to Skydive

Parental Consent Required?

Australia

12 yrs old

Yes, if under 18

Dubai

18 yrs old

No

France

16 yrs old

Yes, if under 18

Germany

12 yrs old

Yes, if under 18

New Zealand

No minimum age

Yes, if under 18

South Africa

16 yrs old

Yes, if under 18

United Kingdom

16 yrs old

Yes, if under 18

United States

18 yrs old

No

Ready to give skydiving a try?

Book a skydive today with Jumptown!

Popular Posts Like This

Experienced Skydivers Welcome!

All the staff were professional and reassuring and they made us feel very comfortable!

» Sharon and Lauren Parker