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Jacksonville's Water Taxis Are Back

Cyd Hoskinson

Jacksonville’s two new water taxis will be up and running Friday afternoon, just in time for the Jaguars’ pre-season opener.

Coast Guard inspectors put the vessels and their crews through their paces today to make sure they were seaworthy and passenger ready.

Coast Guard Petty Officer First Class Lauren Jorgensen said they were looking at the safety equipment on board.

"Life jackets, fire extinguishers, all the other lifesaving gear that’s required to be on board," she said. "And in addition to that, they’re reviewing drills that the crew must perform such as man overboard and fire drills to make sure they know how to respond to those situations.”

The water taxis, Sea Charm 1 and Native Choice, can seat a total of 148 passengers.

They’ll make stops at The Landing and Metropolitan Park on the Northbank and Friendship Fountain and the Wyndham on the Southbank.

There hasn’t been water taxi service since early June when the Baltimore-based company operating the boats decided it wasn’t in their best interest to continue.

The mayor gave Trident Pontoons nearly $340,000 from the city’s emergency fund for two new water taxis, but the city council balked at the expenditure. Businessman Harry Frisch agreed to buy the boats to end the stalemate but plans to sell them once a long term deal is in place. 

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.