Belleville-Based River Raptor Jetboats Designed for Shallow Waters | News, Sports, Jobs

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Sentinel photo by TYLER RUPERT
River Raptor Jetboats owners Rob Plank, left, and Jeff Kanagy show off the latest build of a custom shallow-water aluminum jetboat.

BELLEVILLE – Whether you are looking to hunt, fish, go on an adventure, or even mount a search and rescue effort, River Raptor Jetboats is committed to meeting those needs. With models like the Talon, Raptor, XR, XR8, XD, FTX and Rescue Raptor, River Raptor Jetboats can meet many needs.

River Raptor Jetboats’ goal is to develop world-class aluminum jet boats and jet boat systems that provide their customers with a better way to navigate shallow waterways. They thrive on researching, designing and testing new methods to push their boats to the limits of performance, function and durability.

Owners Rob Plank and Jeff Kanagy originally worked from any space they could find, started building boats in their two garages, and rented their first space in August 2019.

“At the time Jeff was looking for a boat to buy and looking around we thought we could build something better than what was on the market at the time,” said Plank. “At that time, there weren’t a lot of inboard options on the east coast.”

“We noticed that the market was underserved”, Kanagy added.

According to a performance standard, an outboard jet loses about 30% of its power from the engine crankshaft, through the pump and out the back, because it has to suck water through the foot of the jet, doing it spin and then spit it out the back for propulsion. . The inner jets are “axial flow” jets. They suck in the water and shoot it straight into your back. There is about 10% friction loss with this design.

“It’s more efficient power for horsepower, from a handling and balance point of view,” Kanagy said. “We bring all that power and weight forward and lower it into the hull.”

When you’re doing anything in shallow water the lowest part of the boat is going to hit so by keeping the boat level the boat will be as shallow as possible in the water column and that’s what River Raptor tries to do.

The company also sells most types of fishing boat accessories. The customer can choose to install them or River Raptor can add them to the project.

River Raptor Jetboats can be accessed at the Belleville office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday in front of the old New Holland factory or online via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or online at riverraptorjetboats.com. The owners are active with their online presence and often interact with the public.

“We try to keep a decent library of templates on YouTube and if we come up with a new template we’ll put it there”, said Plank. “We like to walk around and showcase the features of each model and post them.”

“You would be hard pressed to find a better built aluminum watercraft anywhere in the world,” Kanagy said. “We focus on shallow water applications.”

Those who wish can even get additional custom protection on the hull in the form of a skid plate.

“When you’re running in a few inches of water, if you miss a spot and hit a rock, you always have peace of mind,” said Plank.

Kanagy and Plank said they plan to expand into a larger manufacturing facility and use the region’s skilled workforce. They see what New Holland has become and feel they can bring something like this back to the region in a smaller form.




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