Hydrofoil service to link Palm Beach and Bahamas

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RIVIERA BEACH -- SeaJets, a newly formed hydrofoil service that will be a component of both Florida and Grand Bahama Island packages, expects to inaugurate service between Sept. 10 and 15, according to George Bradley, president and chief executive officer. The service will link Palm Beach and Freeport.

A Boeing 929 hydrofoil will be used in SeaJets' Port of Palm Beach-Freeport, Bahamas, service. U.S. Coast Guard certification of SeaJets' Kara, the first of two 250-seat Boeing 929 hydrofoils, is pending, he said. The company has obtained a U.S. Customs landing permit.

Agents will earn 10% pay on the transportation service and 12% on related package sales. Bradley said he expects to have the packages in place as well as a sales force by the time service starts.

He said agents can use a system similar to electronic ticketing, whereby when agents call for reservations, they will make a prepayment by credit card or other means and will receive a confirmation number to give clients.

When clients arrive, they will provide the confirmation number along with a photo ID before receiving a boarding pass.

On prepayments, agents deduct 10% commission. When payment is made by clients at boarding, the commission will be paid twice monthly, Bradley said.

Fares for the service (99 minutes each way) will be $99 roundtrip for adults ages 17 and older; $49 for children ages 3 to 16. A $25 arrival-departure tax is additional per passenger.

One-way fares will be $60 for adults; $30 for children. There will be a $9 tax on Freeport, Grand Bahama-bound trips and an $18 tax on Florida-bound trips. Snacks and soft drinks will be provided to passengers free of charge; alcoholic beverages will be sold.

Departures from Florida will be at 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, with return trips from Freeport leaving at 11:10 a.m. and 6:40 p.m Thursdays to Mondays. The 9:30 a.m. boardings are expected to consist largely of day-trippers, Bradley said, while the 4:30 p.m. travelers most likely will be clients staying overnight.

When the firm's second 929 hydrofoil (Kristen) is in service at the end of the year, up to six roundtrips per day will be operated, and service might also be expanded to Port Lucaya and West End, Bradley said.

Clients arriving at West Palm Beach Airport can take a 12-minute taxi ride to the Port of Palm Beach's satellite terminal. From there, a courtesy shuttle will transport them to the hydrofoil.

SeaJets eventually will operate from a new passenger terminal that is expected to open at the port in November 2000, Bradley said.

The two hydrofoils, which skim over the water, most recently were used between Belgium and Brighton, England. There will be five cabin attendants in addition to the operating crew.

Bradley was vice president of marketing for RockResorts in New York from 1979 to 1986. After that, he was executive vice president of the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo. Before becoming involved with SeaJets in July 1998, he ran IMMA, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based consulting concern. Bradley is a partner in SeaJets with Sven Paulsen, chairman, who is a cofounder of Adler Ships, which runs ferry services in northern Germany.

SeaJets
301 Broadway-Suite 119
Riviera Beach, Fla. 33404
Phone: (561) 844-8864
Web: www.seajets.com

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