"Everybody ready?" the captain of the Beach Rider Jet Boat bellowed over the roar of the little boat's giant engine. Ready or not, we were off.
For the next five minutes, I just about laughed my head off. A ride on the jet boat at Broadway at the Beach was the most fun and ridiculous five minutes of our time at Myrtle Beach, and maybe even of the whole year.
My family and another family of four put on our life preservers and piled into the little blue and green boat with the gigantic engine. Within seconds we were zooming across the lake that sits in the center of Broadway at the Beach, the outdoor shopping, restaurant, and entertainment complex. When we got the other end of the lake, our captain spun the boat around in a 360 degree, high-speed turn. It felt like half of the boat flew out of the water, and water sprayed and splashed all over us. Before we knew it, we were racing over our own wake, flying, bumping and bouncing over the water at high speed until we pulled into another crazy 360.
Did you ever do "doughnuts" in a parking lot in high school? (Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.) That's exactly what it felt like, but even more fun because you're in a boat.
Jet boats were invented in New Zealand more than 50 years ago and use a completely different technology than traditional motor boats, allowing them to do their unusual maneuvers across the water at high speeds. Beach Rider's boats use a 410 horsepower Corvette engine and a jet drive pump that churns out 50 gallons of water per second. That's where all that speed comes from.
The ride is short; it lasts about five minutes. But like most things that are an adrenaline rush, it somehow feels longer. Try laughing hard for five minutes nonstop-it has a way of slowing down time (and making your stomach hurt!). But if you really need more time on the boat, keep your receipt and you'll qualify for half-price rides for the rest of the day.
There are two places to access the jet boats at Broadway at the Beach. Both are on the docks that cross the lake, one by WonderWorks and the other by Ripley's Aquarium. But don't worry too much about not being to find the place to board; just follow the roar of the jet boat and the hysterical laughing and screaming of its riders.