Skydiving Weight Limits | Skydive Orange

Skydiving Weight Limits – Everything You Wanted To Know

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

If you’ve landed on this page, you’re likely thinking about making a tandem skydive, but feel concerned about skydiving weight limits. Fear not, we’ve got you covered as the query of skydiving weight restrictions is one we receive nearly every day. In this article, we’ll address every aspect of skydiving weight restrictions and available options. 

What Is the Tandem Skydiving Weight Limit?


In the United States, the tandem weight limit usually varies from one skydiving center to another based on the skydiving equipment used. The manufacturer of tandem skydiving equipment sets the weight restrictions for its tandem equipment and the individual skydiving center can also set weight restrictions at their discretion. In the US, tandem weight restrictions generally vary between 225lbs to 275lbs. At Skydive Orange, we can accommodate guests weighing up to 265 lbs, but please note this is not a hard and fast rule – how an individual fits in the tandem harness is the most important factor. An individual’s body mass index plays a key role here along with body shape. For example, an individual weighing 255lbs and is 6’4” will fit into the tandem harness differently than someone weighing 255lbs and is 5’4”. 

Is There a Weight Surcharge? 

At many dropzones around the world, it’s not uncommon for a weight surcharge to be added to the price of a tandem skydive. This is a common industry practice and not designed to make anyone feel uncomfortable. At Skydive Orange if an individual’s weight surpasses 220 lbs, there are additional fees that cover the fuel surcharge, gear fees, and instructor compensation. The fees are an extra $35 per 10 lbs over 220 lbs, i.e. if you weigh between 221-230 lbs, it would be an extra $35 for a tandem jump, and if you weigh between 231-240 lbs, it would be an extra $70, so on and so forth up to 265 lbs, which is the maximum weight we can accept.

Skydiving Weight Limits | Skydive Orange

What is the Weight Limit for Learning to Skydive? 

Skydiving weight limits vary between tandem skydiving and enrolling in the AFF, Learn to Skydive First Jump course. At Skydive Orange, the maximum weight restriction to enroll in AFF is 225lbs; regrettably, there are no exceptions to this requirement. 

How Strict Are Your Weight Limits?

Believe it or not, we get asked this question a lot! Our weight restrictions are stringent. Skydive Orange maintains a culture of safety and that begins with sticking by our weight restrictions even if you weigh a few pounds over the published weight limit. Please take no offense as we prefer to operate outside of any grey area as your safety is our priority. 

Do You Weigh Tandem Skydivers at Check-In? 

We do. All guests wishing to make a tandem skydive or enrolling in our AFF program are weighed at the time of check-in. Please note the weight recorded for a skydive includes clothing and shoes which is usually about five pounds more to one’s actual body weight. 

Have You Ever Turned Anyone Away Due to Weight Limits? 

Regrettably, we have! It is never our intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause embarrassment. We ask guests to have a clear understanding of their bodyweight is before arriving at the dropzone. If anyone is turned away due to exceeding the weight limit, it is for the safety of the individual guest and instructors of Skydive Orange. 

Why Are There Weight Restrictions with Tandem Skydiving? 

At the end of the day, weight restrictions center around the maximum weight which can be suspended under a parachute system built for both individuals and the weight of the gear itself. Below is a video from Tom Noonan who is a leading voice for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of tandem equipment. Tom explains the technical reasons for skydiving weight limits. 

What To Do If Unsure About Tandem Weight Restrictions

If you are over 220 lbs, there are preemptive measures to ensure that you will be able to skydive at our facility.  Guests may obtain pre-approval by calling 703-759-3483 or emailing info@skydiveorange.com. Factors that determine jump eligibility include age, height, overall physical condition, body shape, and combined exit weight, all of which will be reviewed before an approval can be made. Preliminary approvals can often be made over the phone but in ALL CASES a final approval cannot be made until the instructor has had an opportunity to see the student’s build, body shape, and overall physical condition in person (you MUST be able to lift your legs for less than 1 minute).

The bottom line, though, is the manufacturer’s stated limit for its harness. For most systems, the limit is 500 lbs total, including the instructor’s weight, your weight, and the gear, which weighs about 60 pounds. 

Safety is the #1 Priority

The safety of our guests is our number one priority. We recognize that the issue of weight is a sensitive topic and we work with our guests with discretion and empathy. We want you to have the time of your life and be comfortable without fear of embarrassment. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions at all! 

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Katharine Biegert

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