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Whirlpool Jet Tours has officially launched its 2014 season, offering heart-racing rides and close-up views of the world-famous Niagara River whirlpools.

In operation for two decades, the tours include a one-hour, educational, guided ride up the river, allowing guests to soak in the scenery of the beautiful Niagara Gorge and pass by two hydroelectric generating stations on a ride through the river’s rapids.

Passengers may board the vessels in one of three historic locations in either the U.S. or Canada – Lewiston, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and Niagara Falls, Ont.

“The rush of the Class 5 Devil’s Hole rapids lets you feel the full power of the Niagara River,” said John Kinney, the company’s owner and president, in a statement.

The Jet Boats provide two types of experience – wet or dry. The company’s eight-vessel fleet has seven open-decked Wet Jet boats that allow the power of the Niagara River to rush up and greet passengers, as well as one Jet Dome boat which follows the same route, except with an enclosed fiberglass canopy with pneumatic doors to keep guests dry.

The boats are suitable for all ages, with the Jet Dome requiring a minimum height of 40 inches (the average height of a 4-year-old) and the Wet Jets requiring 44 inches (the average height of a 6-year-old). The boats hold between 48 and 54 passengers and use twin-engine jets and 1,500 horsepower to counteract the power of the mighty Niagara.

For more information, visit www.whirlpooljet.com.

– Teresa Sharp Donaldson