Water-propelled jet pack hits the South Florida market

There is a new must-have accessory for villains and T-Pain alike. It looks like a Rocketeer-esque jet pack, but instead of flames, it's propelled by two powerful streams of water. The Jetlev R200, as it's called, sends the wearer three stories into the air at 22 mph. You can do flips off boats, pretend to run on water, shock old fishermen into cardiac arrest, and generally be the seafaring menace that a tragic lack of Jesus feet always held you back from being.

Take it from a publication that generally delights in mass smearing: This thing looks awesome. This article is an unveiled request for a test drive.

The Jetlev, manufactured by a Dania Beach company, hit the market June 1. It costs $99,500. So far, no rappers have been shown on MTV piloting one while wearing a bathrobe, but we're guessing it's just a matter of time. "We did have a representative of somebody from the music industry in Miami contact us about purchasing one," general sales manager Jay Oosterhouse says, "but we don't have the buyer's name yet."

Mark Poutenis

The device is tethered by a hose to a Jet Ski-like device that funnels in the water that keeps the person flying. It's the brainchild of Canadian inventor Ray Li, who's been tweaking and reworking the concept for eight years. "His biggest concern," Oosterhouse says, "was safety and ease of use": The Jetlev can be mastered in less than an hour and is "very, very safe." A fall from its maximum height, he says, feels like plummeting from a diving board.

Because of a price prohibitive to those of us who don't often drink from diamond-encrusted goblets, Oosterhouse expects the Jetlev's main market will be rentals from resorts and charter yacht companies. Jetlev's first rental operation is in Key West, where $249 buys you an all-day catamaran trip and about a half-hour strapped to a jet pack.

The "biggest problem" so far, says Oosterhouse: The sight of the Jetlev creates a bit of a frenzy at sea. "We've actually had to trail it with another boat just to keep order, because everybody wants to come over and check it out. It looks like something from outer space."

The only special requirements for using one: You need to be over 18 and have a boating license if you're under 22. We're guessing there aren't more buzz-killing regulations because not enough people even know the Jetlev exists. That might change the first time the Situation's third cousin flies too close to a yacht while chugging a Natty Ice, sending a county commissioner leaping to the poop deck.

 
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