Jerry’s Rogue Jets, Oregon’s Only Mail Boat Tour!
We offer nature based jet boat trips on Oregon’s ‘Wild & Scenic’ Rogue River. Our trips are a blend of rugged scenery, abundant wildlife, Pacific coastal estuary, personalized commenatary, and adventurous whitewater jet boating.
Discover what Jerry’s Rogue Jets, our team, and our history of mail delivery on the Rogue River are all about:
The natural environment of the Rogue River Canyon is responsible for our success. Early visionaries enacted the ‘Wild & Scenic’ Rivers Act of 1968, “…to set aside river corridors with their immediate environments possess outstanding remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural or similar values.” The Rogue River was designated ‘Wild & Scenic’ as one the original 8 rivers in the U.S.A. In cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, Jerry’s Rogue Jets serves as steward of this spectacular resource.
Jet boat tours are seasonal May 1 – October 15 and operate on the lower 52 miles of the Rogue River under the authority of the U.S. Forest Service. ‘Special-Use’ permits, issued by the U.S.F.S, regulate the number of trips that can be run daily on a seasonal basis. Jerry’s Rogue Jets is the only permitted commercial jet boat tour allowed to operate in the Rogue River’s ‘Wild’ section; an area only accessible by jet boating, rafting and hiking.
Jerry’s Rogue Jets (RogueJets, Inc.) established in 1958 and the Rogue River Mail Boats (Mail Boat Service, Inc.) established in 1895 have shared a competitive history. On March 1, 2010 Jerry’s Rogue Jets purchased the Rogue River Mail Boat company merging nearly 160 years of commercial jet boat experience on the Rogue River.
Jerry’s Rogue Jets and the Rogue River Mail Boats are a careful blend of adventurous jet boating, nature based tourism and unscripted narrated entertainment; all of our captains are veteran boatmen of the Rogue River.
Our commercial fleet consists of 15 U.S. Coast Guard Inspected vessels. Inspections occur annually prior to the beginning of each season. Vessels range in size from 32’ to 42’ long and are capable of introducing 38 to 65 passengers respectively to the Rogue River Canyon. Our vessels have been custom manufactured locally by Wayne Adams of Sea People Manufacturing. Wayne is a direct decedent of the Adams family pioneers whom homesteaded in the Rogue River Canyon and used the services of the early Mail Boats at the turn of the last century. Changes in hull design, layout and seating are constantly evolving to meet new safety, comfort and environmental concerns. Horsepower is derived from triple engine, gasoline powered installments using 6.0 L 366 c.i.and 8.1 L 496 c.i. Chevy Marine Engines. Combined horsepower in individual vessels is 1000+. Hydro-Jet technology allows shallow draft navigation and maneuverability through the Rogue River’s shallow rocky environment. Fully loaded jet boats can travel through 8 inches of water. The hydro-jet pumps we use are Legend, Berkeley and Hamilton pumps. Boats can reach speeds of 50+ M.P.H but typically cruise at 35 M.P.H.. Each vessel is equipped with modern sound suppression to reduce river disturbance for all river users. Public address (P.A.) systems mounted internally in every row allow your jet boat pilot to narrate while traveling up stream. Jerry’s Rogue Jets is capable of introducing 800+ passengers to the Rogue River Canyon in a single day. Annually 34,000 passengers enjoy a trip aboard Jerry’s Rogue Jets, Oregon’s only Mail Boat.
Jerry’s and the Mail Boats have grown from humble beginnings to become a world class nature based tourism attraction on the Southern Oregon Coast. During the 1940’s an editor for Sunset Magazine wrote an article about his travels up the Rogue River and set in motion a string of events that have culminated in what is today the Jerry’s Rogue Jets. Awarded the Governor’s Tourism award in 1987, Southern Oregon Visitor’s Association President’s Award 2003, Oregon Business Magazine’s 50 Great Leaders award 2006 and featured on the NBC Today Show in 2007. Our staff and pilots are committed to providing a safe and fun experience while introducing you and your family to the Rogue River Canyon.
In 1990 Jerry’s added a free Rogue River Museum and Gift Shop just across the street from Jerry’s ticket office. The Gift Shop and free Museum are both open year round. Our gift shop is stocked with clothing, Oregon décor, souvenirs and one-of-a-kind items. The museum will provide a glimpse of the rich history that has occurred in the Rogue River Canyon. Follow the time line beginning nearly 250 million years ago with the formation of the Rogue River Canyon to the events of the past and present that continue to shape life along the Rogue River.
Jerry’s Rogue Jets History:
Jerry’s Rogue Jets was established in 1958 by Three brothers: Jerry, Alden, and Court Boice. They revolutionized commercial boating by being the first to develop, install, and use hydro-jet pumps in a boat in the United States. Jerry’s Rogue Jets became the first commercial jet boat tour company in the USA and set the standard for commercial jet boat tours. The company continues today as a world class nature based excursion on the Rogue River and a great tourist destination on the Southern Oregon Coast.
The Rogue River is notoriously shallow and rocky, and Hydro-jet technology allowed boats to safely travel in just inches of water while carrying a full load of travelers. With the advent of the hydro-jet, components of the propulsion system no longer protruded below the bottom of the boat. A hydro-jet draws water in through an intake mounted flush to the bottom of the boat, and then forces the water out through a nozzle mounted on the transom of the boat, which propels the boat forward. Steering is accomplished by directing the water nozzle to one side or the other. The hydro-jet was a major factor in revolutionizing jet boating on the Rogue River.
Each of the brothers played an integral role in the development of Jerry’s Rogue Jets. Jerry embodied the entrepreneurial spirit and brought the idea of jet boat tours to life. Jerry served as jet boat pilot, entertainer, tour guide, and recreational therapist. His wife Evelyn ran the office and took care of the daily bookings. Alden Boice was a boat builder and master mechanic. He built and maintained the original fleet of jet boats, the ‘Miss Kelly’ & ‘Carrie G’, which had wooden hulls and two engines each. Court, the oldest of the brothers, served as a jet boat pilot alongside his brother Jerry. Jerry, Alden, and Court Boice are the ‘Founding Father’s of Jerry’s Rogue Jets and commercial jet boat tours in the United States.
Mail Boat History:
Around 1850 settlers, fur trappers, explorers and gold miners started moving into the Rogue River Canyon. This vast and isolated wilderness cut pioneers off from civilization for months or even years at a time. The closest post office was located in Wedderburn, Oregon, on the north side of the Rogue River. Mail was brought to Wedderburn from San Francisco by small sailing schooners or inland train. From there it had to be carried by pack mules to outposts along the Rogue River corridor. Elijah Price proposed a U.S. sanctioned Post Office on his homestead at Big Bend, forty miles upstream from Wedderburn. He believed he could move mail and freight to the isolated pioneers more efficiently by boat.
Price petitioned the U.S. Postal Service so consistently that they could no longer deny his request. The Postal Service finally agreed to a one year trial, for no pay, and Price agreed. On June 14, 1895 Noble Price (Elijah’s eldest son) made the first mail boat trip upriver in an 18 foot wooden boat. The boat was pushed, pulled and carried upstream with the assistance of sail, poles and oars. It would take Noble four days to complete the forty mile journey upriver to Big Bend. From that agreement the whitewater mail main was born, and more than 120 years later, the tradition continues.
After the trial year was completed, and proved feasible, sealed bids were accepted for the following year. In the spring of 1896 Jim Thorten was awarded the first official contract and would receive $600.00 annually to deliver mail upriver once a week. In October of 1897, a post office was established thirty-two miles upriver in the home of Amaziah Aubury. The outpost would be named Agness, after Aubury’s daughter, and a community took shape around the new post office that also took the name of Agness.
In the early 1900’s, gasoline engines began to emerge and Henry Moore operated the first gasoline powered Mail Boat run to Agness. Initially the small engines were not very powerful and required the assistance of poles to get over the shallow riffles. In 1926, Oscar Miller and Roy Carter operated the mail contract with the help of several gasoline powered round bottomed boats that were equipped with a special lift that would raise the propeller up behind the boat to help navigate the shallows. Boats at this time could accommodate a few passengers, but still predominantly carried only mail and freight. The Civilian Conservation Corps (C.C.C) established a camp near Agness during this era to complete a steel suspension bridge to span the banks of the Rogue River. All the materials needed for construction of this bridge were hauled in by the Mail Boats. The bridge was completed in 1932, but completely destroyed in the 1964 flood, and not rebuilt.
In 1946, the contract was awarded to Deforest Sorber and Lex Fromm. Lex and Deforest began building their own boats to out perform the older Mail Boats they had purchased. In 1959, Lex went on to design the first ‘tunnel’ boat. This special design allowed the propeller to operate up in a tunnel built into the hull of the boat.
With the end of World War II more people began to travel. Visitors who stopped to fish on the Rogue River began to take the mail boat ride as a pleasure tour. Early travelers enjoyed the novelty of watching mail be delivered to the various docks, homes, camps, and boats along the way. The popularity of the Rogue River was becoming well known for its scenic environment. Author Zane Grey, river-runner Glen Wooldridge, Hollywood stars, and a growing middle class helped bring world-wide notoriety to the Rogue River Canyon.