River boating in northern Saskatchewan

Pat and Lara Goertz enjoy boating on the North Saskatchewan River


Pat and Lara Goertz's two river boats next to each other on the North Saskatchewan river.

Good friends and good times: Jet boating on the North Saskatchewan. — Photo courtesy of Lara Goertz

Lara Goertz and her husband Pat Goertz started dreaming about river boating a couple of years ago. They live just a mile from the North Saskatchewan River, and watching the boats ripping up and down was almost more than they could take. They didn’t simply want to watch—they wanted to have fun, too. A neighbour and longtime friend who was a jet boat owner had endless stories that further intrigued the couple.  

After a Kijiji ad caught their eye, they made a four-and-a-half-hour trip "just to look." They quickly became the proud new owners of a a 2006 Custom Weld Viper 2 with a 6.2L, 410 horsepower LS3 engine. Just a little bit of oomph, eh? 

After a bit of scrubbing, the Goertzes ventured forth the very next day on their inaugural voyage. Lara was amazed at how different the river and river valley looked from midstream.

“The wildlife we see is amazing," said Lara. "Wolves, cougars and bald eagles are so incredible from a river’s-eye view. Cruising on the river on a sunny day is one of our most favourite things now.”

The couple often pack up their cooler with gourmet meals, all to be prepared on an open fire. Chicken souvlaki and steak bites are among their favourite riverbank meals, and always shared with their boating friends. 

“The people we run into on our river trips are simply fantastic," said Lara. "Everyone, including the people we have just met on the river, gather by the open fire to share food and stories of adventure. It is a way of life for river boaters. Everyone is always willing to lend a hand." 

On one particularly memorable adventure, the Goertzes were in a narrow channel and ended up tagging a rock, which in turn knocked out their engine. A friend who was travelling in front transferred some of the passengers to his boat to take them back to camp. Lara and Pat were then able to turn their boat around, aiming downstream. They were able to get their kicker engine fired up to navigate through logs, rocks and shallows. After lots of pushing—and laughing—the crew arrived back to camp.

The Goertzes have recently added a new boat to their fleet: a race hull 1995 Outlaw Spring, which they will be outfitting with a 4.3L V6 engine. Perfect! His and her jet boats for a couple geared for adventure.

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