Summertime is the busy season for Nikki and Dave DuBois, co-founders of Boomerang Boat Tours. In a given week, they could be running 35 Potomac River excursions from Georgetown’s Washington Harbour. On Monday and Tuesday, when there are no sailings, the couple works on maintenance, inventory, cleaning and event planning. During such breaks in the schedule, the crew gets a break too.
But on Wednesdays, said Nikki, “It’s go time.” She, Dave and the rest of the staff have been operating at a busy pace, which gets going in mid-March, around St. Patrick’s Day, and accelerates when the cherry blossoms start to come out. They keep up that pace until New Year’s Eve, when the last cruise takes place, and then they are closed for about 10 weeks — though a six-cabin catamaran launched in December of 2016 is available for Caribbean charters from November through August.
The idea for Boomerang Boat Tours came about when Nikki was a high school teacher looking for a career change. She wanted to create a more social environment that involved a bus. Boomerang Tours started up in 2006. After the single bus grew to six buses and limousines, Nikki decided to quit her former job to attend to this growing business.
Dave, who was in financial planning, followed suit after two years. Since they were living by the river and love boating, the decision was made to plan events on a boat, starting in 2012 with one 74-passenger boat. The Boomerang Pirate Ship, which involves pirate actors, a skit and a treasure hunt, was launched the following year, and a 70-foot party yacht, accommodating 125 passengers, was added in 2015. Eventually, the transition from buses to boats was complete.
The result is the kind of boating experience that offers passengers a chance to see the essential sites, such as the Kennedy Center and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, but also to enjoy music, a cocktail and the sunset. “We were doing something different than what other people were offering,” said Nikki.
Living near the river in Georgetown for 16 years, Nikki and Dave cannot get enough of the water. However, they bring to the business different strengths. Nikki focuses on the customer side, marketing, sales and event planning, while Dave focuses more on the operations, working with the Coast Guard, mechanics and captains. They work together to hire and train people as needed. “We’re a good team,” said Nikki.