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10 Things You Should Know About Ride Safety at Carowinds

Ashlyn Hunter |
May 12, 2021
"The safety of our guests and associates is our first priority."

This statement has been true since the park first opened in 1973 and it's a sentiment that hasn't wavered or changed since. It's a statement that guides many aspects of the park operations including, in 2021, COVID-19 safety protocols, but also the standard by which we maintain and operate our rides and attractions.

When thinking of the thrilling rides of Carowinds, our minds first go to their record-breaking heights and speeds. But it's also important for guests to understand just how safe they are. 

To further explain, here are 10 things you should know about ride safety at Carowinds:

  1. Many of the rides and attractions at Carowinds are designed and built by some of the best ride manufacturers in the world. Companies like Bolliger & Mabillard (Fury 325, Intimidator, Afterburn, Vortex), Vekoma (Flying Cobras), and Mack Rides (Copperhead Strike) are just a few of the manufacturers known for building quality attractions for amusement parks worldwide. 
  2. All of our rides are licensed and inspected by the North Carolina and South Carolina Departments of Labor. Because of our unique location on the state line, each ride's state inspection is completed by the state where the ride's station is located. Carolina Harbor attractions are regulated and inspected by each state's health department.
  3. Our rides and attractions are inspected daily by our staff. The rides also undergo additional weekly and monthly inspections. Our rides maintenance staff undertake a thorough inspection of each ride at these intervals, checking numerous elements, depending on the ride. These range from inspecting restraint systems and ride structures to ride control and drive systems and many more. Our mechanics and electricians cycle the rides empty each morning to ensure the rise and its systems are functioning properly. Rides staff also conduct operation tests each day prior to opening, including running a cycle with a test rider onboard.
  4. Unexpected ride stoppage is designed to keep riders safe. Most rides are built with a computerized control system that monitors the state of the ride such as speed conditions, the position of brakes, pneumatic and/or hydraulic pressures, passenger restraints, and other systems related to the safe operation of the ride. If an unexpected condition occurs, the ride will stop itself in a safe way. The operating staff will contact maintenance to resolve the problem. Usually, within a few minutes, the ride is restarted, and guests are brought back to the station. This is not a malfunction, but rather a safety feature of every ride.
  5. Bad weather may mean temporary delays. For the safety of our guests, we will not operate our rides when lightning is nearby. When our Security Center detects a storm approaching the park, it quickly notifies team managers and keeps everyone updated as we move through the specified severe weather phases. Rides are staged to be shut down according to this information, based on their height and dynamic. So, it might look like clear skies over Fury 325 when we temporarily close it, but our staff could be seeing something very different on the radar.
  6. Sometimes, our ride operators need to pause a ride to keep guests safe. We have a very strict no-loose-articles policy on our rides, so if we see a guest take out his or her phone, the ride may be healted until that guest secures it again. Please follow all directions from the rider operators to ensure everyone has a safe ride!
  7. Restraints are designed with fail-safe mechanisms to ensure they don't come undone. Sometimes when you push down on your lap bar, you'll notice on certain rides it clicks down a few levels. These rides, like Intimidator and Fury 325, feature a ratcheting restraint system that allows the restraint to lock in numerous positions. These restraints are designed with multiple levels of redundancy to keep riders safe. This is nothing to panic about, the restraint is still secure.
  8. All our ride operators undergo comprehensive training. Each member of the team is certified by International Ride Training to be safe operators, and every associate must be trained and certified at every position they work in the park.
  9. If needed, we have safe evacuation procedures in place. Every ride has a plan for the safe evacuation of guests and mock evacuations are an important part of our training process. 
  10. Even when the park is closed, we're taking care of our rides. During the few months the park is closed, our rides and maintenance staff are busy dismantling, cleaning, inspecting and repairing our rides to ensure they're in top shape for the next season.

At Carowinds, we take pride in providing a safe, fun, and memorable experience for all our guests. We're committed to safety so that you can come to the park and focus on having your best day.