“It is mainly fun sporting equipment and we are aiming to create a new exciting alternative for people who don't want to sail or swim,” Christoph Winter, spokesperson of MS Watersports GmbH told The Local on Thursday.
The “personal flying machine” attached to a big yellow hose is not quite the science fiction fantasy of a rocket pack that enables individual human flight. But it can reach speeds up to 64 kilometres an hour and help riders soar almost ten metres above the water surface.
The hose connects to an unmanned boat that transports an engine that pumps pressurised water into the actual jet pack, where it is released through two nozzles next to the operator's shoulders.
The company says that the 14 kilogramme jet pack is environmentally friendly and almost ready for serial production. They presented the JetLev at the Düsseldorf boat show in late January and are headed to the Dubai Boat Show in early March.
They are also looking into more serious uses for the JetLev.
“We already spoke with an off shore oil rig company about using the JetLev instead of boats to go out if something has to be fixed on the platform, for example, but using it in holiday resorts is an option, too” Winter said.
At a stunning €100,000, the JetLev is the private jet of water toys. “Someone with a little rubber dinghy surely won't buy themselves one of these,” Winter said. “We are addressing a more exclusive group of clients.”
But before the rich and famous can get their hands on the JetLev, MS Watersports has a few formalities to take care of.
“We don't know yet how the usage will be restricted and if maybe only people who with a boat licence would be allowed to used it,” Winter told The Local. “I would certainly not recommend flying off with it after a couple of drinks, though. Only responsible use will bring you the most fun,” Winter said.
But the fun of almost flying doesn't come without risk, he said. “Obviously, if you make a mistake at full speed and crash onto the water surface, you can injure yourself pretty severely, but it is the same with every extreme sport. If you do a bungee jump and the rope is too long, you get hurt as well.” Winter said.