A trip to the boat houses in Muttukadu and Raindrop Boat House in Mudaliarkuppam, both on East Coast Road, may not be complete without a ride on a high-speed water scooter.
The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) recently purchased four aqua scooters ‘Waverunner VX700’ costing Rs.9.68 lakh each.
The scooters were deployed in Muttukadu, about 30 km from here and Mudaliarkuppam, nearly 100 km from the city. Besides, the Corporation is in the process of introducing inflatable ‘banana boats’ that are popular among children and youths.
Like the aqua scooters, banana boats also offer a thrilling experience to riders as they move on the water swiftly. On these boats, riders are made to sit astride on a large tube, which is attached to a larger boat. Life jackets are compulsory for both the rides.
Out of the 11 boat houses operated by the Corporation, water scooters are deployed for a joyride at Muttukadu and Mudaliarkuppam.
The operations were cancelled during March for want of spare parts. Following requests from the public, the TTDC floated tenders in April and purchased four aqua scooters. They were pressed into service last week.
Talking to The Hindu, Muttukadu boat house manager R. Samson Kanagaraj said: “Currently, we are operating all the four aqua scooters and there is good response from visitors during weekends. These scooters come with 701cc durable two-stroke engines and can carry three persons at a time. Since we have a vast space of land, we are providing a five-minute ride covering five km. The scooter is driven by our employees.”
Three water scooters are deployed at Mudaliarkuppam. However, a 32-seat boat acquired by TTDC during January 2012 has been lying idle for want of passengers. The riots at Marakkanam during the last week of April took its toll on the number of visitors to the boat house.
To offset the revenue loss and attract more visitors to the boathouse, officials decided to re-introduce banana boats. Two such boats were introduced in August 2008 with much fanfare. But they are rarely seen now.
“Of the 11 boat houses, six are in hills stations and three in the coastal zone.
Banana boats can be deployed only at Mudaliarkuppam and Pitchavaram. They cannot be deployed in Muttukadu as the water is polluted,” said the officials.