September 14, 2023

You’ve seen them in their Big Yellow Jet boats, cruising into the bay, ripping 360° spins and travelling at speed up and down the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers….so what does it really take to be a KJet Jet boat driver?

Not for the faint hearted, you must have a love of adrenaline, nerves of steel, sound judgement and quick reaction times as well as many hours of training. You must possess a high level of responsibility to ensure our customers have a safe and enjoyable experience with KJet.

We asked Shaun Kelly owner and the OJBD (Original Jet boat Driver) and Brett, Operations Manager, and staff member for over 15 years what they look out for when investing in new drivers.

Because that’s what it is – an investment as all drivers must undergo a minimum of 50 hours training on the rivers before obtaining their Commercial Jet Boat drivers’ Licence.  Once a prospective driver has sat and passed their Commercial Jet Boat Driver Licence test, training continues through 100 hours with the aim of honing their skills and eventually graduating from our single engine boats to our larger twin engine boats. Drivers must commit to 2 years with the company due to this investment.

Before considering it, you’ll need to be prepared to work long hours in summer in all weather conditions. A good amount of mechanical aptitude and understanding of how machinery works is preferred for the role but just is important is a willingness and interest to learn how the machinery works.

As well as a good level of maturity, things that also impress are a willingness to learn, keeping a level head and calmness under pressure.

If you’re not a people person this job isn’t for you as there’s a big aspect of customer service involved, customers love to hear about the workings of a Jet boat and information on Queenstown and the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers.

You will then undergo hours of hands-on training before being allowed to drive a single engine Jet boat solo and then take passengers, then finally a twin-engine craft.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Contact our operations team at

  • Jet boat driver checking Jet boat engine
  • Jet boats in the garage being towed by a massey Ferguson tractor
  • Group of people in KJet jet boat in the lake just after a 360 degree spin in Queenstown New Zealand