By Marc Lutz
Sentinel editor 

Professional jet skier churns up Dangerous Waters through Southeast

 

September 30, 2021



It’s one thing to experience Alaska’s waterways from a ferry, cruise ship or even a fishing boat, but what about a Jet Ski, sitting atop a couple hundred horsepower of a thousand-pound jet pump with handlebars?

One company is doing just that, guiding tours via personal watercraft, from Seattle to Juneau with stops in Wrangell and other Southeast communities.

Dangerous Waters Adventures was founded in 2018 by Steven Moll, offering thrill seekers a chance to experience the Alaska and Canada Inside Passage from a different perspective.

Before opening the tour company, Moll hosted a TV show, also called “Dangerous Waters,” where he and a crew traveled the world. The show chronicled their adventures, including everything from being stranded in remote areas to getting arrested by Russian police. It ran for seven seasons on cable and on-demand channels.

Even before that, Moll worked for radio station KFBK in the Sacramento, California, region.

“Once we finished that series, I needed to get a real job,” Moll said. “I couldn’t go back to (radio reporting). I had a worldly view on things.”

Moll decided after the end of the TV show to see if anyone wanted to go with him via Jet Ski from Seattle up to Prince Rupert, British Columbia. From that excursion, the tour company was created.

Originally, he kept his operations based out of his home in Folsom, California, with a fleet of Jet Skis docked in Seattle. But then COVID-19 hit. Moll decided to move the business to Juneau. Since Canada closed its ports during the pandemic, he had to change his tour routes.


Clients can travel with Moll and another guide from Juneau down to Ketchikan, or Sitka to Juneau’s Auke Bay, or the opposite direction. The cost is $6,900. There is also a trip from Seattle to Ketchikan (or reverse) for $9,900, though he has not run that tour during Canada’s border closure.


Dangerous Waters operates from the last week of May until the last week of October and typically has about 150 clients throughout that time.

On Sept. 22, Moll, guide Drake Stanley and a trainee headed from Wrangell to Ketchikan. Winds were picking up, and Moll said they look for favorable weather before heading out. Iffier conditions need to be subsiding, otherwise the tour stays put.

“If we get down and I determine that the weather is not optimal to our passage to Ketchikan, then we will return here and we will head back to Petersburg,” Moll told clients before departing Wrangell. “We have to ride when the weather is good.”


Moll and his crew come prepared, with thousands of miles of training and navigation experience. Stanley had to complete 10,000 miles traveling the Inside Passage with Moll to lead tours. His guides have to be familiar with several GPS applications and able to navigate by sight.

“In the winter I do big-wave rescue on a Jet Ski for surfing, Mavericks (surfing competition), stuff like that,” said Stanley, who works on a personal watercraft in various places. “I’m lucky enough to be able to drive a Jet Ski professionally year-round.”

The trip to Ketchikan turned out to be ideal, he said, taking just four hours on water that was “glass.”

Before their departure, guides and clients huddle up for instruction and then prayer. Moll describes himself and his wife as “staunch Christians,” who practice daily prayer. He believes the views he and his crew and clients get to take in are reminders of “what God’s created,” whether it’s glacial fjords, sweeping views, or seeing things like “orcas preying on humpbacks.”

“It’s eye candy for one,” Moll said. “Then, people with different backgrounds are all laid equal by the ocean. It levels the playing field.”

 
 

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