What types of trips are offered and how long do they last?
We offer several trips. Our two hour scenic excursion goes through downtown Portland and to Willamette Falls in Oregon City. Our one hour bridge tour goes through downtown and to the shipyards. The lunch tour lasts about three hours and includes the sites on the one hour bridge tour and beyond to the Columbia River.
How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?
As soon as you have a firm date in mind. We often sell out in July, August and holiday weekends. It is best to either call or to make reservations online and book the maximum number of seats needed. We have a 24 hour cancellation/number change policy so you may reduce your seats reserved up to 24 hours prior to your departure time.
How do I make a reservation?
Reservations can be made securely online or by calling us at either 503.231.1532 or 888.538.2628. If you call to make reservations, please be ready with your contact information, number of adults, children along with either a Visa, MC or Discover. Full payment is required upon booking. There is a $1.25 booking fee per passenger.
What is the cancellation policy?
Reservations or a change in your numbers may be cancelled/changed at least 24 hours in advance prior to your departure time without a charge. If you cancel or change your numbers within the 24 hour cancellation policy, no refunds will be issued. Customers will also receive a full refund in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about a cancellation. No shows will be charged the full price.
Are reservations required?
No, however, they are highly recommended. Sometimes we sell out, have a schedule change or may need to cancel due to weather. We can only guarantee a seat for those with reservations.
Is there parking available?
Our passengers may park in the parking lot at OMSI. If you park in the second lot just past the main entrance to the museum, the walk to the jetboat office and dock is much shorter. However, OMSI does charge a fee to park in their lot and that fee needs to be paid inside their lobby before coming down to the dock. Throughout the summer, especially weekends, there are many events at or near OMSI that may impact the availability of parking spaces. Please arrive early or consider taking the Portland Streetcar or MAX. Please visit www.portlandstreetcar.org or www.trimet.org for more information.
Are there bathrooms on the boat?
No. We encourage you to take care of business before the ride. We have a porta potty near the top of the ramp and keep the key at our office. If we were to keep it open to the public, it would become unsanitary in a few hours. OMSI also has bathrooms for use. While paying for parking, it is a perfect time to use the restrooms.
Can I reserve the front row?
Seating is first come, first serve but does not guarantee your choice of seating. For safety, seating in the first few rows is left to the discretion of the pilot.
Do I need a life jacket for my child?
Our boats are inspected by the USCG and no one of any age is required to wear life jackets. We provide life jackets for all passengers and have smaller sizes that fit infants and children. We will pass the child life jackets out to your child once they are on board. Adult life jackets are stowed on the boat. Though we are exempt from the mandatory life jacket rule, we do not discourage any age from wearing a life jacket.
Are there age restrictions for children?
There are no age restrictions and we provide life jackets that fit infants and children. Car seats and carriers are NOT permitted on the boats. We strongly suggest a front pack or wearable carrier and all infants must be held by an adult. Keep in mind that the ride can be a bit overwhelming for some children and refunds will not be issued if we have to return to the dock.
Can anyone take part in this trip?
The jet boat ride, by its nature, creates forces that may not be acceptable to some persons. Participants of jet boat excursions will be exposed to outdoor elements, forces from the jet boat spins, speeds and other intense features that may cause distress or injury to persons with pre-existing health conditions. Please consider these features in determining suitability for ALL passengers. Only guests in good health should participate in a jet boat excursion. For your safety, please consult your physician if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, motion sickness, heart, neck or back problems, recent surgery or any other medical condition that might be aggravated by the forces of this ride. All guests, including those with disabilities or use a wheelchair must be able to transfer into and out of the boat by themselves or with the assistance of a member in their party. All passengers are required to read and sign our Participation Agreement. Please review this waiver to determine if this ride is appropriate for you.
I have a bad back, can I still ride?
For any medical advice, we recommend you consult your physician before joining us. Passengers with existing conditions have safely ridden our boats. HOWEVER, the ride can be bumpy, with sharp turns and quick stops and other maneuvers that could aggravate pre-existing conditions. Your safety is our top priority so please make us aware of any conditions that might impact your experience. Before making reservations, please review our waiver to determine if this ride is appropriate for you.
Will I get seasick?
The ride is more like riding in a convertible versus being out on a boat in the ocean. Each year we take over 30,000 passengers and very rarely do passengers have problems with motion sickness. If it is a concern, we recommend sitting in the back of the boat where it tends to be a smoother ride.
Can I bring a Service Dog or Therapy Dog on the boat?
For the safety of all passengers, any animal, with the exception of an active service animal for physically impaired individuals, is prohibited. Any animal that does not assist an individual with sight, sound or mobility is not allowed on the boats. Therapy Dogs are not permitted on the boat. We thank you for understanding that we must consider the safety of ALL passengers. Notification that a Service Dog will be boarding with you is required upon making your reservation. Please be advised that the boat pilot will perform thrill maneuvers and the animal will need to be secured during the maneuvers. Pet carriers are not permitted as a safety measure.
Will I get wet?
Yes! Our tours include spins and other boat maneuvers that do create waves and spray/splash. All passengers should expect to get at least sprayed, perhaps soaked. The amount of water depends on the weather, river conditions, and where you are sitting. The front row and sides, towards the back can be the wettest, however no spot is guaranteed to be dry. We generally tell people the first nine rows are wet and there are nine rows on a boat! Prepare accordingly and you will have a blast.
Do you provide rain gear or ponchos?
We do not provide rain gear due to lack of space and to be environmentally friendly. The plastic ponchos have a tendency to rip within the first few minutes of the boat ride and fill up the garbage cans needlessly or end up in the river. Getting wet is a possibility and we recommend you prepare accordingly so your experience will be more enjoyable.
What should I wear?
Casual and comfortable clothes. Keep in mind there is a very strong chance of getting wet. On a warm day, t-shirts and shorts are suggested and on cooler days, we recommend dressing in layers. Because we offer a fast open boat ride, it will be cooler out on the water than on land. Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!
Can I bring a camera?
Many passengers bring camera and cell phones and they rarely get wet. HOWEVER, please keep in mind we are not responsible for damage to any electrical equipment or personal belongings. We do not have plastic bags or lockers available at our office, please plan accordingly.
Does Willamette Falls always have water like in the brochure?
The amount of water over Willamette Falls varies. Usually in May and June, the Falls are raging and quite spectacular. In late June or early July, changes are made related to hydroelectric power and sometimes the water slows dramatically.
How fast do the boats go?
Much of the tour is at speeds over 40 mph. The boats do stop often so the pilot can point out history and highlights along the way.
How many people do the boats hold?
We have three boats and each boat carries up to 49 passengers. We are licensed and regulated by the USCG and this number is set according to their regulations.