Published: February 21, 2017
Skydiving is an exciting sport at any age! That first experience of jumping from an aircraft is unlike anything else, whether you're 18 or 80.
Most people choose to make their first skydive as a tandem. This means they're strapped to an instructor using a harness. So logically, you really only need to be able to fit the harness to be able to jump.
What you probably mean if you're asking the question 'how old do you have to be to skydive?' is 'how old do you have to be to legally go skydiving in the USA?', right?
The answer to that is simple; here in the US, you have to be 18 years old to skydive. There is no maximum age, providing you are physically fit.
Why is there an age limit for skydiving?
The age for skydiving differs depending on the country. In areas of Europe and Australia, for example, there is no age limit.
Most people ask us about age limits for skydiving because they have an eager teenager keen to take the leap. While we totally understand the drive to get in the air (who doesn't want to feel what it's like to fly?!), the reality is that skydiving with a minor could open the drop zone up to potential risk.
Why? Simply put, it's because the US is more litigious than many other skydiving countries. If someone tried to sue a drop zone in an overseas skydive, it's likely they'd be laughed out of the room. Here, the very real threat of a lawsuit means that minors cannot jump, no matter how mature they are or how much they say they're not going to sue should anything not go quite to plan.
Plus, skydiving is inherently a risk sport. We'd never try to put you off, but the truth of the matter is that you could find yourself hurt or worse should things go wrong - it's highly unlikely, but you do need the maturity to be able to make that decision for yourself.
USPA rules on skydiving age
The USPA (United States Parachute Association), which is the oversight organization for our sport, has deemed skydiving with minors to be unsafe. This means that they'd come down on any tandem instructor going against like rule like a ton of bricks. No skydiving instructor worth their salt will be willing to put their own jump career at risk, no matter what.
What are the alternatives if I want to skydive but I'm not 18?
We started out saying that skydiving is an exciting sport at any age, and we stand by that! These days, you don't have to jump from an airplane to experience the thrill.
Indoor skydiving simulators, otherwise known as wind tunnels, are open to people of all ages. They're basically large tubes in which air travels upwards, meaning you can 'fly' around in it as if in freefall. iFly Westchester is the nearest indoor skydiving facility to us at Long Island Skydiving Center, located just 2 hours west. Why not come for your skydive in the morning and then take the little ones to give it a go once you're done? It's a great day out for all the family.
I'm 18, what now?
Of course, if you are 18 or over, now's the time to get yourself in the sky! Whether it's the world's greatest 18th birthday present, a jump for charity, a celebration jump of some kind or just something you want to do, skydiving is guaranteed to thrill. Check out our tandem skydiving page for more information.