Straddling the border of Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is a blue oasis stretching through red and orange sandstone canyons with stunning rock formations.
Each season, visitors come to Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas near Page, Arizona, to enjoy the lake and explore some of the geological wonders. Among the most popular are Antelope Canyon, Cathedral in the Desert, and Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
Lady Emma wants to take you there, too. The 15-meter (50-foot) touring vessel made a grand entrance on Lake Powell in 2019. Built by Bentz Boats, the new vessel sports an aluminum planing hull and jet propulsion powered by three John Deere PowerTech™ 6090SFM85 marine engines.
Choosing jet propulsion
According to Robert Knowlton, general manager of boat rentals, tours, and river operations for Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas, the marina has been in the process of replacing aging vessels with new boats. After considering various options, Knowlton and his team came to the conclusion that an aluminum tour boat with jet propulsion would be the best fit on Lake Powell. Jet propulsion makes it easier to get around on the lake and helps avoid damage to the vessel.
He also points out that jet propulsion offers exceptional maneuverability. With one engine in forward and two in reverse, the boat turns 360 degrees on a dime and can walk sideways for easy docking. "The captains operating the vessel really enjoy the maneuverability and versatility that the marine propulsion system offers in narrow passages, such as Antelope Canyon."
Picking the marine engine pros
After researching boat builders, Knowlton selected Bentz Boats in Lewiston, Idaho, to build Lady Emma. Family owned and operated, Bentz Boats has been crafting rugged aluminum-hull vessels since 1972.
When selecting a power source for the jet propulsion system, Knowlton leaned on the advice of Bentz Boats, who recommended John Deere marine engines supplied by Cascade Engine Center.This John Deere engine distributor has years of experience pairing John Deere engines with HamiltonJet propulsion systems in tour boats, water taxis, and commercial fishing vessels throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Cascade Engine Center recommended John Deere PowerTech 6090SFM85 marine engines for Lady Emma.
"Cascade Engine Center has been a long-term supplier of engines for us, offering solutions and support from initial sales to aftersales service, regardless of vessel location," says Bryan Bentz, owner of Bentz Boats. "My trust in their recommendation is high — they have a proven track record of quality and support." Bentz Boats paired the John Deere 9.0L marine engines with HamiltonJet 322 waterjets through a ZF transmission with a 1:1 gear ratio.
"Most of our clientele is looking for higher speeds," says Bentz. "We have learned that oftentimes smaller triple applications provide better performance at a lesser cost both initially and long term than twin engines." Lady Emma is the fastest in the marina’s fleet, capable of reaching a top ship speed of 45 knots.
Why John Deere marine engines?
In fact, Bentz Boats is building another triple-engine vessel for Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas. The new jet-propulsion tourism vessel measures 21 meters (68 feet) in length and will be powered by three John Deere PowerTech 6135SFM85 marine engines.
"Bentz Boats is approaching 50 years in this business, and you learn what works and what doesn’t," says Bentz. "The John Deere marine engines were the perfect fit for durability and performance."
Bentz Boats is approaching 50 years in this business, and you learn what works and what doesn’t. The John Deere marine engines were the perfect fit for durability and performance.