By Jill Nagy
An octagonal boat with a thatched roof began navigating Saratoga Lake in July. The boat, operated by Tiki Tours, is the second one launched in the area this summer.
The company started on Lake George earlier this summer.
Cruises leave from the South Shore Marina, 113 Route 9P, near the Nostalgia restaurant, and last for an hour. Fare is $35 per passenger for up to six passengers. The boat will also pick up passengers at Doc Brown’s Restaurant, 511 Route 9P, Saratoga Springs. The passengers determine where to go and whether to make stops on the way.
Greg Teresi, owner of the company, said the boat is rented on a charter basis. It went out about 50 times in its first month of operation in Saratoga.
The boat, decorated like a small Tiki lounge, measures 15.5 feet by 16.5 feet and is powered by a 30-horsepower outboard engine. It can accommodate six passengers.
He said it is manned by a captain and a deckhand. There are few amenities: an ice chest and ice, a portable toilet with a privacy shield, and is radio equipped with bluetooth technology.
It is a slow cruise, moving at about 5 miles per hour.
Teresi said he hopes to have a second Tiki boat operating on Saratoga Lake, on the north end of the lake, by next summer. There are also plans to have Tiki Tour boats running on the Mohawk River from the Rivers Casino in Schenectady and, possibly, the Great Sacandaga Lake next summer. In the northeast’s off season, the company will scout out locations in Florida.
Teresi said he has several partners in the endeavor, “a solid team of business professionals.”
They are Bob Wolfgang, a former Albany police chief, and his son Brian Wolfgang, an Albany fireman; Anthony Ali, who is also involved in another Teresi enterprise, Troy-based Capital City Cycle Tours; Larry Davis, and Frank Gasino, the general manager, responsible for day-to-day operations.
Three captains take turns manning the Tiki boats on Saratoga Lake and Lake George. In Saratoga, Teresi said, clientele seems to be evenly split between people from the Saratoga area and visitors, including one or two families with children each weekend. On the whole, he reports, “business has been good.”
For Teresi, cycle tours and Tiki boats are sidelines, for the time being. He is a trial attorney who has practiced in Albany for 10 years and opened a satellite office in Lake George about a year ago.
Tiki Tours can be reached online at www.thetikitours.com, or by phone at (800) 691-0770.