Taking jet ski tours from Ontario Place is Toronto's newest waterfront sport
A new jet ski tour company just opened up at Ontario Place and it is the first legal company operating in Toronto waters.
There are jet ski and many other boating rental options in the city but 416Navy Jet Ski Tours is the only one to offer a legal guided tour in Toronto, says Shawn Cooper, who goes by Cooper S. and operates the company with Ryan Nickel and Katrina Nickel.
About a year in the making, it took a while to secure permits from PortsToronto to operate legally in Toronto waters with proper insurance, Cooper says.
"You need a special licence to operate here outside of your boating licence," Cooper says.
Jessica Pellerin, a spokesperson for PortsToronto, confirmed that 416Navy has a Harbour Master's authorisation from PortsToronto to operate jet ski tours from Ontario Place.
She added that jet ski operators must also hold a Transport Canada Pleasure Craft Operator's Card and a PortsToronto Powered Vessel Operator's permit while operating within PortsToronto's jurisdiction — from the Humber River to the Eastern Beaches.
Another hurdle in starting the company was getting jet skis, which was difficult in the pandemic as the demand is high.
"We had to buy all our Sea-Doos in December, January and we barely got our inventory."
They were able to get four Sea-Doos and four more are coming. They also secured the permits and a space at Ontario Place, and are starting a waitlist for tours.
"For the first time you can legally try a jet ski in Toronto," he says.
The tours help people safely navigate Toronto waters, which can get difficult with ferries and ships, and respect other boaters. The tour leaders will also be there if someone falls off the jet ski.
"It is a lot safer environment in that we have qualified experts that are always with people just giving them the best experience," Cooper says.
Cooper has a background in concert and experience promotions. He launched and sold several tech companies including a web hosting provider for the music industry, an online concert ticketing company, and a tech company called Volu.me with Ryan.
He sees jet ski business as another challenge and a chance to offer people a chance to try a jet ski experience.
"It was obvious people wanted to do this."
The price is not cheap, at $199 plus tax, but that covers the safety briefing, permits, insurance and about 45-minute guided tour.
They installed their own dock on the West Island of Ontario Place near Bridge 6.
After the safety briefing and instructions, the tour leaves Ontario Place and depending on the weather will head west toward Sunnyside Beach or east toward Sugar Beach.
There are plenty of opportunities for photos with the CN Tower and the skyline in the background.
The guides won't take people who are intoxicated, and if a patron is nervous, they can rebook or get a refund.
"We want everyone to have a great time and be safe."
416Navy Jet Ski Tours
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