Want a new way to explore the city? Rent a jet ski
Yeses, you really read this correctly – this summer you can hire a jet ski to cruise the city’s waterways.
Steel City Jet Ski Rentals, which opened on May 15, offers people the option of jet skiing on Pittsburgh‘s three rivers, regardless of their level of experience. Headquartered in Station Square, the company gives customers access to a 10 mile radius of city views, with limits to McKees Rock Bridge, Hot Metal Bridge and 40th Street Bridge.
Jake Tovey, Founder and CEO of Steel City Jet Ski Rentals, said he was inspired to start the business after seeing Snapchat of Steelers catcher JuJu Smith-Schuster jet skiing through downtown the last summer.
“I thought it would be really fun, so I looked for jet ski rentals in Pittsburgh and couldn’t find one,” Tovey says.
Currently, Steel City Jet Ski Rentals offers 30-minute, one-hour, two-hour and four-hour rentals. Customers must be 16 or older to use a jet ski, although Tovey says there is no age limit for passengers. Each jet ski can accommodate up to three people.
Prices fluctuate depending on demand and peak times; booking on weekdays is less than on weekends. Real-time prices can be found on the website’s live calendar, which allows customers to book rentals any time of the same day through October 3.
While no jet ski experience is required, a Water Safety Education Certificate from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is. Customers who do not yet have one can visit the Steel City Jet Ski Rentals website, where there are instructions on how to obtain a temporary certificate before arriving at the site. Tovey says the process involves watching a safety video and taking a quiz.
All participants also receive an in-depth 5-10 minute briefing from company employees on site. Tovey, an avid jet ski enthusiast himself, says he’s trained the staff to make sure they feel comfortable on the craft and can answer any questions people might have. have on operating a personal watercraft.
“I have full confidence in my staff – we spent a lot of time training ourselves,” says Tovey. “We are very thorough. All they [customers] must know, they hear three times through the video, the quiz and our on-site briefing.
IPads and implemented software allow staff to track the locations of the jet skis and monitor their speed. Jet skis will automatically slow down in unawakened areas and areas beyond company-defined limits.
Staff can also alert customers if they exceed their rental term, travel too far, or show signs of unsafe activity. Additionally, the company provides customers with waterproof bags so they can safely take their phones out on the water and call staff with questions or concerns.
Tovey, who owns investment real estate as well as an Airbnb rental business, says he donates 10% of his proceeds to charities that benefit the Pittsburgh community. Steel City Jet Ski Rentals supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, a mentoring program for children from single-parent families, low-income households and underperforming schools.
“A big reason I have had the success that I have had is a lot of connections that I have had in my life through coaches, mentors and my parents who have grown up,” Tovey says. “It’s a really cool charity that I love being able to give back to those who maybe aren’t as lucky as me.”
Tovey will also donate an additional 5% of the proceeds to JDRF, a charity that funds research into type 1 diabetes.
“Unfortunately, I lost a cousin a week before I started [Steel City Jet Ski Rentals] who had type 1 diabetes, which is probably the most difficult thing my family has ever experienced, ”says Tovey. “… I hope he finds a cure and honor my cousin this way.”
Steel City Jet Ski Rentals received its sixth jet ski last Friday and hopes to have eight in total as soon as possible.
“It has been really amazing to see the positive response we have had,” Tovey said. “I’m really excited about it, everyone is really excited about it, and I love Pittsburgh and being able to bring something fun to the city.”
Steel City Jet Ski Rentals is open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. To book a jet ski rental, visit the company’s website website.