New Sail Superior powerboat offers faster way to explore the big lake and Kam River

Chartered harbour tour company Sail Superior says it will soon offer rides on the Superior Rocket, a new Hurricane Zodiac powerboat, which will provide a much faster way to travel Lake Superior and the Kaministiquia River than traditional sailboats.

The chartered tour company's new Superior Rocket will be much faster than traditional sailboats

Capt. Greg Heroux of Sail Superior says the new Superior Rocket provides a faster way to travel on Lake Superior and the Kam River. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

This summer, there will be a new way in Thunder Bay, Ont., to travel on Lake Superior and up the Kaministiquia River.

Chartered harbour tour company Sail Superior says it will now offer rides on the Superior Rocket, a new Hurricane Zodiac powerboat, scheduled to start this weekend, pending regulatory approval. It will provide a much faster way to travel on water than traditional sailboats.  

"The Zodiac gives us a little bit of flexibility, we can get to the islands fast," Capt. Greg Heroux of Sail Superior told CBC News. "We can do trips that allow us to go to places the sailboats can't go."

He adds it could also go as fast as 100 km/h, but the Superior Rocket will typically go from 60 to 80 km/h on flat days or 40 km/h when it's cruising.

Although it has a capacity for 30 people, the boat will be registered to take 12 on the water, which Heroux said leaves plenty of room in the bow for gear. 

I want people to embrace the new marina.- Capt. Greg Heroux of Sail Superior

Passengers can also sit on the pontoons, and a canopy is in the works to better shield those aboard from rain or other poor weather.   

While Heroux said he expects the Zodiac to be popular for tourists or those seeking adventure, he has other plans for it as well.

"We're also using the vessel to support the lighthouses that are around here," he said. "There's the Porphyry Island Lighthouse that needs crew and supplies brought out to them because they're very remote."

"We're acting kind of like the coast guard ships [like] the Alexander Henry did in the old days [that] would bring supplies out there."

Heroux added he can also see the boat being put to commercial use for people who need to do work on the island or those doing geological research.

However, he hopes that with the new Zodiac, more people will come down to spend time on the lake and river.

"I want people to embrace the new marina, all the things happening down here," he said.

"Come and see us and talk to us — we do want you to come down, take a look, set your dates and get excited for a really nice summer."

With files from Jeff Walters