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Meet Ron Silvia of Chicago Electric Boat Company in Downtown on the Chicago River

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ron Silvia.

Ron, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started the company in 2012 with my late partner Greg Krueger, former President of Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales. I grew up in Cape Cod – I’ve been around the water my entire life. When I moved to Chicago in 2008 from grad school, I started working with Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales (JBYS) and I quickly became fascinated with the Chicago river. I always wondered why there was no place downtown to rent a boat. In 2010 my wife and I took a trip to northern Florida with some friends and we rented a Duffy Electric Boat to cruise the intercoastal waterway for a couple of hours. It was total BLISS! I knew at that moment I had to open a rental boat business in Chicago. It took a couple of years to bring the idea to reality but in April 2012 we opened for business with two rental boats. Today we have 11 rental boats in our fleet and a first-class team of employees making sure our customers have nothing but the best experience possible.

Overall, would you say things have been easy for you? Bumps in the road?
Year one had some bumpy moments, we realized after a couple of weeks we had hit an excitement nerve with the public and we ordered two more boats, bringing our year one fleet to four boats! We had the growing pains that all small businesses experience, but we’ve refined our business, reservation process, orientation process and we continue to improve our customer experience every day. We found that educating customers of the boats, the river environment, and the safe operation of the boats was critically important. Equally important was the attention to detail in training each “crew” member (employee).

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Chicago Electric Boat Company – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
We have the largest hourly rental fleet of boats on the Chicago River. We are proud to maintain our boats to the highest degree of cleanliness and curb appeal and we invest heavily in ensuring our boats are the finest available for rent on the Chicago River. We rent 100% electric boats by the hour for the general public to operate. Our boats are clean, classy, and environmentally friendly. We are proud to invest in our employees, for their well-being ensures that their treatment of each customer that walks in our door is nothing short of exceptional.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We look forward to growing our rental fleet and have some exciting new partnerships in the works for the 2017 season.


  • $150 per hour for our 10 passenger boats
  • $200 per hour for our 12 passenger boats
  • $215 per hour for our 12 passenger Duffy Suncruiser (open back deck)

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