'Thrill' boat rides coming to Madison
Boats will be docked at landing on West Street
Tuesday, January 08, 2013 10:00 AM
Boat tours of the Ohio River are coming to Madison by early summer. But these won't be your average boat tours.
Wild Thing Jet Boat Rides offers tours on a New Zealand-style jet boat, a light-weight boat that propels itself with 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 and can carry 11 passengers and a captain.
Tours will cover a 40-mile stretch of the Ohio River.
Co-owner Paul Nicholson said they offer a "thrill ride up and down the Ohio River.
"It only needs 4 inches of water to operate," Nicholson said. "There's nothing that sticks below the hull, so it can do things a normal boat can't. It can spin its own length, it can spin sideways on the water, it can stop within its own length."
The company also will offer a more traditional tour on a western-style boat for people interested in learning more about the history of the river.
Nicholson and co-owner Janet Harding signed a three-year lease with the city to bring the business to Madison.
Nicholson and Harding also own a sister business in North Carolina.
The lease was approved unanimously by the Board of Public Works and Safety on Monday during the board's first meeting of 2013.
"It's just going to be great for our residents, and I think it's going to add to our festivals on the river," Mayor Damon Welch said. "The other thing, I think is that this is going to draw new people to Madison."
Wild Thing will have a removable six-by-eight-foot kiosk where tickets can be bought at the foot of West Street with the boats secured at the public docks.
Nicholson said the business would be seasonal and he hoped to be ready by the first of May. Daily boat tours would be available until the Chautauqua Festival of Art in September. Weekend tours would continue after that depending on weather and river conditions.
The board also heard from Robin Goodnight of Gardner Insurance regarding the city's insurance coverage.
HCC Insurance has been covering Madison for five years, and is increasing coverage rates because of the city's loss rate over the last five years.
Deductibles on several lines of coverage increased, including:
A $4,000 jump to the general liability fund.
An increase of $5,000 in property insurance because of increased property values.
A $5,000 increase in automobile coverage.
The biggest change this year is to the premium. It is increasing nearly 16 percent because of the insurer's five-year loss history while covering the city.
A decision was tabled until the board's next meeting, Jan. 22.