Local couple offering ferry rides along the Snake River in Idaho Falls
IDAHO FALLS – The Latter-day Saint temple in downtown Idaho Falls and the waterfalls on the Snake River are two of the city’s most iconic features and a local couple wants to give you a unique view of those landmarks.
Candace and Richmond Sekyere are the owners of Snake River Ferry, a new business giving customers a 30-minute boat ride on different sections of the river.
“We want people to get out and enjoy the river,” Candace tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Until you’re out here on the river, you don’t realize how pretty it is and a lot of this is a different perspective than just walking around it.”
Rides on the Snake River Ferry will begin May 30 at the dock by John’s Hole Bridge. It will follow a loop along the upper falls towards Freeman Park and then circle back the other way towards the lower falls near the Broadway Bridge. Get a look in the video player above.
Passengers will hear a few historical facts about different landmarks, but the main purpose is to allow people to enjoy the river with their family and friends.
The couple hopes it will not only be a fun experience for locals and tourists but also draw a lot of traffic downtown and help local businesses.
“We get a lot of tourism here — maybe not this year — but normally there is a lot of tourism,” says Candace.
Candace says she and her husband were inspired to start the Snake River Ferry after visiting New York last year and taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.
Overcoming safety concerns and other hurdles have been a major challenge in getting the business up and running, she says.
“With boats, we are limited to (a specific weight) and distributing it as evenly as possible so that we can steer properly,” Candace says.
The Snake River Ferry has a maximum capacity of about 1,200 pounds. The ferry is also a pontoon boat, which means it’s safer for passengers, Candace says. The bottom is flat and it’s more stable when you turn it because it doesn’t tip.
“Obviously, we’re not going to have waves, but even in such situations these are very stable boats,” Richmond says.
There are also railings around the outside of the boat.
“We will be following all Idaho boating safety laws. Anybody 14 and under will have to wear a life jacket. Anybody older than that isn’t required to wear it, but it has to be readily accessible,” Candace says.
Flotation devices will also be on-hand in case of an emergency.
Though the upcoming tourist season is a little uncertain because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Candace says the layout of the boat is accommodating to social distancing concerns.
“It automatically is separating everybody out, so we’ll try and accommodate friends and family all sitting together on one bench,” she says. “If people want to wear masks, they are welcome to do so, but we’re not going to require it.”
Though the pandemic may impact the upcoming tourist season, Candace says everyone seems to be excited about the business and they’re looking forward to beginning to offer rides to customers.
“Hopefully, residents of southeast Idaho will support us and keep us going into our second year,” she says.
“We hope people will come out and enjoy it,” Richmond says.
The Snake River Ferry will run through Labor Day. It will operate Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tickets will be available at a kiosk near the dock. The cost of admission is $10 for adults 13 and up. Kids 4-12 are $5, 3 and under are free. Discounts are available for senior citizens, members of the military and families.
Visit the Facebook page for more information.