Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.-based Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours has kicked off its 25th anniversary season by launching earlier in the year than ever.
A mild winter meant the tour operator began to hit the turbulent waters of the Niagara River about three weeks earlier than usual.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours officially opened to the public in 1992 with a single boat, taking passengers for white water-rides from the mouth of the Niagara River in Niagara-on-the-Lake, through the Class 5 Devil’s Hole Rapids and to just below the incredibly powerful Niagara Whirlpool. Today, it has eight 50-passenger jet boats that take passengers on adrenalin-filled trips from three departure locations: Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls, Ont. (shuttle bus from Niagara Glen Nature Centre check-in to Queenston dock) and Lewiston, New York.
Passengers can choose between two types of trips – wet or dry. Guests in open-topped jet boats are guaranteed to return to the dock soaking wet, doused with gallons of water while their boat pilot powers them through the rapids at high speed and expertly spins them through the chop in a complete 360-degree turn. Passengers in the covered Jet Dome get the same thrill ride, minus the splash, and return as dry as they were at the outset. Tours last approximately one hour. Along the way, tour leaders on the boats also give passengers highlights about the river’s geology and history.