Captain Paul Nicholson shows off what his jet boat, the Wild Thing, can do on the Ohio River. The Wild thing is set to begin giving rides to customers in Madison later this month.
Captain Paul Nicholson shows off what his jet boat, the Wild Thing, can do on the Ohio River. The Wild thing is set to begin giving rides to customers in Madison later this month.
Paul Nicholson and Janet Harding are ready to bring a wild twist to boating on the Ohio River - literally.

Wild Thing Jet Boat Rides will hold its grand opening Wednesday and will begin taking passengers out on the river for two different tours.

The boat will launch from the city dock, which will be installed once the water levels drop. A yellow kiosk is already set up to sell tickets from, located at the corner of West Street and Vaughn Drive.

Until the city dock is installed, Wild Thing Jet Boat Rides will operate from Rivercrest Marina, and will have a passenger van to take patrons from the kiosk to the boat. Nicholson said they will also operate at the marina during the Madison Regatta.

The announcement was made in January that Nicholson and Harding would be bringing the boating adventure to town. The boat they are using is popular in New Zealand, and is one of 20 that currently exists in the United States.

The boat houses a 450-horse-power Corvette engine that pumps 50 gallons of water per second from the bottom of the boat through a tube in the back. The boat can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, carrying 11 passengers in one trip.

Nicholson grew up in Oregon, where these style of boats are very popular. He and Harding own a similar boating company in North Carolina, but they really wanted to move to a town like Madison.

"When we discovered Madison, we discovered there was no place to take a boat ride on the river," Nicholson said. "We stayed up all night trying to figure out how to move here."

There will be two types of tours. One is a wild ride that features twists and spins. The boat is designed to glide on top of the water and can stop within its own length.

The second trip is a gentle ride up the Ohio River to Carrollton. Nicholson said that adventure will feature a history of the area and, if passengers are lucky, a few jokes.

Wild Thing Jet Boat Rides signed a three-year lease with the city to operate at the city docks.

The business opens Wednesday and will be open every day through September, weather permitting. Rides cost between $20 and $54 per person. For more information, go to www.ridethewildthing.com.