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Get up close and personal with the Niagara Gorge

Posted at 7:44 AM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 07:44:44-04

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's not hard to see just how powerful the Niagara River can be, but on a Whirlpool Jet Boat Tour, you can feel, see and experience first hand the power of the mighty gorge.

"All of the water that starts out as a 35-mile-wide great lake, Lake Erie is all squeezed into a gorge that's only 125 yards wide." John Kinney, President of Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours said. "So when you take all of the water of the great lakes and squeeze it into a tight area while it is going down hill, it makes the big water rapids that we get to enjoy."

This year the rapids look like they used to back hundreds of years ago, Kinney attributes this to the high-water levels. The rapids are great for viewing because of the high waters but the water levels are causing a headache for the boat tours. Kinney said he had to close his Niagara on the Lake location due to the docks. Reservations have been funneled to their Lewiston location and their Queenston, Ontario location.

"30 foot waves through the upper Niagara Gorge... there is the opportunity to see the rapids in their true natural form," Kinney said.

There's eight boats that fit around 50 people right now and come the fall, Kinney says they will be adding another Boat to be able to take people out during the fall and winter months. It will be an enclosed, heated experience where people can see the whirlpool gorge without getting soaking wet.

"The industry is looking for more programming in the fall and winter months," Kinney said. "Our new boat is designed to be able to do that and safely operate in the Niagara River when the River is ice free."

The new boat is scheduled to launch in the River in the next few months.