Niagara Gazette

Opinion

September 1, 2013

GLYNN: New jetboats may launch in October

Niagara Gazette — Mike Fox had been hoping to have a unique float in the Labor Day Parade in Youngstown but he couldn’t pull it all together in time.

Fox, who owns Fox BoyZ Marine off Water Street in the village, was planning to provide the parade spectators along Main Street with the first glimpse of a new jetboat — one of two — that could begin operating rides on the lower Niagara River this fall. A crew is putting finishing touches on the vessels at a shipyard near Boise, Idaho. Fox’s partner in the new attraction — Niagara Jet Adventures — is Chris Bohnenkamp, who owns Whitewater Customs of Meridan, Idaho.

Fox and Bohnenkamp, with their driver Beau Value, also of Meridan, made headlines in early May when they tested two jetboats transported from Idaho. They took the sturdy boats from the marina in Youngstown upriver past the Whirlpool and through the rapids to an area even beyond the Rainbow Bridge, near the base of the falls. As expected, law enforcement agencies like the Border Patrol, the U.S. Coast Guard, and park police on both sides of the river were initially alarmed about the boats operating in the treacherous waters. The authorities reminded Fox and his companions of the reporting requirements for such a venture.

At present, the fledgling jetboat company is in the process of securing permits and approvals, Plans have yet to be completed but the owners hope the new boats will be christened in late October.

The new jetboats will be the second such attraction in the lower Niagara River. The Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, based at Niagara-on-the-Lake, were launched in 1992 and they continue to operate from the Ontario side to the Lewiston Landing, a satellite office for the company, and to the edge of the Whirlpool. 

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