A day in the life of a Jet boat driver

February 18, 2016

Driver’s logbook – Shane Trembath

8.00am

Arrive at the KJet workshop for a morning meeting to find out what the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers are up to. We discuss what the day ahead is looking like, and organise a game plan with the crew so our boats and drivers are in the right place, at the right time throughout the day.

8.10am

We begin our thorough, pre-launch checks over all of the KJet boats.

8.20am

We jump on our Massey Ferguson tractor to drop one of the first boats into the water. This boat then heads off to do the morning river check.

8.30am

The boats are in and I head to the Main Town Pier for the first trip of the day. This is a great time of day, the lake is quiet and it’s just me and KJet 10 off to work. The LS3’s are purring away and all the gauges are reading happy.

9.00am

Off for the first trip of the day with some very excited customers, all kitted out with their spray jackets and life jackets on. We have some pretty enthusiastic customers on this trip from Australia, they’ve got their GoPros ready and they’re all fired up. We load them into the back row where they’ll be more exposed to the spray during the spins, a perfect spot to capture the splash from the spins on their waterproof GoPros.

9.10am

After a couple of spins our Australian customers are screaming along with everyone else as we ride under the Kawarau Falls Bridge. Down past the buoys we weave along the willow trees until we reach the confluence with the Shotover River. This is the part I love, weaving through the shallow braids of the Shotover River, this is what Jet boating is about.

10.00am

Back from my first trip of the day, our customers are a little bit wetter than when we set off but lots of smiling faces. The Aussie boys loved it, they’re really into their cars and boats so I show them the engines. They’re pretty impressed with our twin Chev LS3 power plants and do their best ‘Tim the Tool Man Taylor’ impersonations.

11.00am

My second trip of the day is on one of our small single engine Jet boats with one extended family of 10 on board, they’re pretty stoked to get a boat to themselves. A couple of the children are a little bit nervous, so I take it easy to start, with a few slow spins and check they’re ok. They warm to it and before I know it they’re yelling at me to go faster and faster!

12.00pm

Grabbing some lunch while I can, we have a motto ‘Eat when you can, not when you think you will be able to’. If it gets busy all of a sudden, the Pier crew are pretty good at getting Foot Long Subs delivered straight to the Pier for us. It’s the school holidays at the moment, so we’ve got a busy  afternoon ahead with a big school group booked in later.  

2.00pm

It’s been non-stop today, but the weather is good so I can’t complain. We rotate between trips so when I’m not driving I’m helping the crew on the Pier, booking customers on and helping with life jackets and photos. There is always some good banter to be had on the Pier and being located right in the heart of Queenstown, there’s always plenty of people around so it’s a pretty cool atmosphere.

5.00pm

I head back out to the Marina base to take a tour group out for a trip as they just arrive to Queenstown from Korea. Koreans are always super excited and really love Jet boating. Usually you get a few Si wanabes doing Gangnam Style, and as always with these groups, I get my photo taken paparazzi style with everyone post trip.

6.30pm

All boats come out of the water, mechanical and visual checks are completed.  I find some stones in a few of the grills, but that’s fairly typical of a day’s boating on a dropping Shotover River after a front has come through.  All the boats are signed off for the day and any mechanical issues are noted for the mechanics to look at first thing in the morning.

7.00pm

It’s been a busy day on the water, so always good to finish the day having a beer with the boys and a debrief of the day’s events.

This entry was posted in Jet Boating, tagged Jet Boating and posted on February 18, 2016

  • 1.Pre launch checks
  • 2.KJet Operations Base
  • 3.Launching the boats into the water
  • 6.Group kitted up ready to go
  • 4.Customers boarding the Jet boat
  • 5.Jet boat in action
  • 7.The end of the day