Shotover Jet Drivers Celebrate 50 Years in Style

Queenstown’s Shotover Jet drivers get into spirit of 50 years birthday celebration with retro uniforms  

Forget about Throwback Thursday – jet boat drivers at Queenstown’s iconic Shotover Jet are having a throwback couple of weeks. 

As part of celebrations to mark a landmark 50 years in tourism, Shotover Jet’s 12 drivers are taking a sartorial step back in time – sporting the white shirts, ties and distinctive ‘Captain’s hats’ as worn by founder Trevor Gamble in the early 1970’s.
The drivers ditched their red shirts in favour of the old look from the beginning of this month (Sunday November 1) and will wear the retro threads up to and including Shotover Jet’s official birthday on Friday November 13.
Winding back the clock 50 years on the uniform has its challenges, however. 
“We’ve had some great feedback from the drivers, who are enjoying the 50th and really getting into the spirit of celebrating a tourism milestone,” said Ngāi Tahu Tourism Southern Regional Manager David Kennedy. 
“The only concern is the ability to keep a white shirt ‘white’. We may have to ask Trevor Gamble for some bleaching tips!
“In winter a white cotton shirt, even with today’s jackets, is definitely not warm enough, especially at speeds of up to 85kph. They’ll survive a couple of weeks of spring, though.”
The clothing was sourced from various sources, all new so the drivers look sharp and smart. And just in case, there are a few spare caps should one or two go missing at high speed or while performing a signature Hamilton spin. 
Fifty years of innovation, tourism history and success is being marked this month. The official celebration on the river will see invited official guests including Iwi, community, members of local and national Government, tourism leaders, staff and current and past owners come together to celebrate. 
Fast Facts
• On November 13 2015, Shotover Jet will become the first jet boat operator in the world to reach a milestone 50 years’ of continuous operation. It started operations on the upper Shotover River in 1965 and was one of the experiences that helped put New Zealand on the global tourism map. 
• An original adventure tourism operator, not only is Shotover Jet still going, it’s still growing -- last year carrying over 140,000 people from around the world.  
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Check out an early Shotover Jet boat shooting through the Shotover River Canyons back in the 1970’s on YouTube  
Picture caption:
On the left is Shotover Jet founder Trevor Gamble circa 1973, and on the right Joseph Coutts pictured on Sunday November 1 2015 wearing his retro uniform