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Time to Hit the Rapids in Niagara County

There's a new jet boat company that'll be sharing the lower Niagara River with a long-standing boat company this season. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Antoinette DelBel has more from Niagara Jet Adventures.

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. -- Thrill-seekers, start your engines.

This triple engine, 1,700-horse power boat by Niagara Jet Adventures will take passengers on the lower Niagara River, through Devil's Hole, stopping at the base of the Whirlpool rapids, where waves can get as high as 20 feet, or more.

"Our boats are climate controlled. We have three heaters for the inside of the cab. We also have air conditioning on board," said Eric Elben, a Niagara Jet Adventures captain.

Elben will navigate the waters from one of the company's three jet boats that'll launch out of Youngstown as soon as Friday.

But Niagara Jet Adventures won't be the only jet boats taking passengers into the rapids. Whirlpool Jet Boats, which launched 22 years ago, also runs on the river.

Mike Fox, co-owner for Niagara Jet Adventures, doesn't see it as a problem.

"There's a market and we're going to make the market bigger.I think we can all co-exist," said Fox. "We can start out small, and hopefully we'll grow. That's the American dream. We're still dreaming it."

Whirlpool Jet Boats opened its season earlier this month. General manager Garry Hierlihy said over the years, they've carried 1.5 million people between its Lewiston location and two others in Canada.

Hierlihy said he's not worried about the new competition.

Niagara Jet Adventures agreed.

"I kind of see a long-term, basically working with them," Elben said.

What makes these boats different from their competitor's? Passengers don't have to get wet if they don't want to. There are 22 seats inside the cab, and for those thrill-seekers, who don't mind getting a little soaked, there's additional seating outside on the boat's deck.

"You can go in the water without getting wet. It's kind of nice," Fox said.

Whirlpool Jet Boats does have one enclosed boat that is expected to launch from Lewiston at the end of June.

Meantime, Niagara Jet Adventures is getting ready for a grand opening in the next three to four weeks.

by Antoinette DelBel

Source: Time Warner Cable News

Published on 29 May

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