Strap on a life jacket and hold on for dear life – Assignment #265 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to ride a jet boat in the Mississippi River.
The jet boat, which is decorated in a Captain America theme, is a small, 11 passenger boat that handles like a jet ski. As for the ride, Captain William Lozier describes it as somewhere between a rollercoaster and a log ride.
When I met Capt. William at the dock last week, he outfitted me with a lifejacket, warned me to hold on to either the boat's side or front bar, and asked if I got motion sick as he eased the boat out of the harbor.
It was a beautiful day, one of those last few hot-ish summer days, and a nice breeze was blowing. I was just getting used to the feeling of being in tiny vessel in the middle of the giant, open Mississippi when Capt. William sped the boat up, pointed to the right and then cut a turn so sharp that my side of the boat came rising out of the water.
For the next 20 minutes, the ride was exactly as I had been told it would be – part rollercoaster, part log ride. Captain William would get some speed up, point to either the left or the right and make chilly river water rain down on us. Even though I had been assured that the boat wouldn't flip, I was white-knuckling the boat's side with one arm and the front bar with the other. We were going so fast (and it was so windy) that it was hard to keep my eyes open. I couldn't stop laughing.
Before you go on a jet boat ride, there are a few things to know. First, you're going to get wet. Depending on where you sit, you'll get really wet (seats toward the back of the boat get it the worst). Stash a change of clothes in your car and do not, under any circumstances, bring your phone with you. Secondly, if you get motion sick, don't sit in the front of the boat. Thirdly, go on a hot day – the water splashing into the boat will feel amazing.
The jet boat is operated by Memphis Riverboats. Rides are $25 per person for 20 minutes in the water. The rides are appropriate for kids, as long as they're not super tiny (as in, you probably wouldn't want to bring your infant or toddler).
Jet Boat Rides
45 S. Riverside Dr.
Memphis, TN 38103