It's time to grab your wet shoes because Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours are once again open for the season. Of course this year looks a little different than in the past.
What You Need To Know
- Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours in Niagara Falls are open for their 29th season
- Safety is a big focus this year, including masks, social distancing, limited capacity and increased cleaning and sanitizing
- New York residents can get a 20 percent discount by booking online
Safety is a big focus for tour operators during their 29th season, including taking such precautions as installing 'please stand here' markers on the ground for those waiting to board.
"We are here to operate a very safe program and we have had amazing weather. Feel free to join us and take great white water experience trip," General Manager Garry Hierlihy said.
Whether you are looking to get soaked, or opt for the dry tour, Hierlihy says they are doing everything to keep people safe.
"We do have self-distancing throughout the whole briefing area, we do mandate that all of our guests, as soon as they come to our facilities, that they are wearing masks. One thing we have here as well that was very innovative, as soon as you get down to our jet boat, we are giving every guest a whitewater helmet with a face shield on it. It gives them another safety protocol while they are on our trip," he said.
Other safety protocols include that people on dry tours must also wear masks, boats are filled at 50 percent capacity, and they’ve increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces. These are some of the things they are doing to ensure they can continue operating safely, but opening during the pandemic has come with challenges.
"We are doing OK, we are obviously operating with limited capacities, which is having an effect on our revenue lines and the fact we have already lost two months of our business. At least two months, and we are really not sure what will be happening in the fall. Whether it would be worth our while to be operating in the months of October, November and even into December where we usually operate," he said.
The company runs tours in both the U.S. and Canada, which adds another obstacle.
"It has been a full-time job just ensuring we are staying in code with both sides of the border and dealing with immigrations and border patrol. We have been very proactive dealing with every level of government on both sides of the border to make sure we are in tune to what is happening. And staying compliant to the regulations," Hierlihy added.
As for now, they are trying to make it easy for people to get out on the tours. They are encouraging staycations, and New York residents can get a 20 percent discount by booking online.