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Great America unveils pirate-themed water ride
By Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

People on shore fire water cannons at a group of "pirates" in a ship as Six Flags Great America introduced its new "Buccaneer Battle" water raft ride Tuesday.


Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Six Flags Great America President Hank Salemi watches Mr. Six after he used a bottle to christening the ship the "Buccaneer Battle" as the Gurnee park introduced its new pirate-themed water raft ride Tuesday.


Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/12/2009 3:49 PM | Updated: 5/12/2009 4:22 PM

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It will never be described as the most intense ride at Six Flags Great America, but park officials showed Tuesday it will definitely be one of the wettest.

Buccaneer Battle, the new ride at the Gurnee theme park, was unveiled to the media and friends of the park. And, anyone willing to get into a makeshift pirate ship seemed happy the ride has arrived.

"You get very wet," said Alexia Van Sky, 11, of Wadsworth, who was soaking wet after jumping off the ride about 11 a.m. "Shooting (water at) people on shore while they shoot at you is the best part of the ride."

In the ride, eight people climb aboard one of 10 boats and move slowly through a 450-foot track built into a small pond.

In front of each passenger on the boat is a cannon that riders use to shoot streams of water at people on shore. Those landlubbers man their own water cannons and are shooting streams of water at the boats.

And, passengers in other boats floating on the ride are able to shoot at each other, while cannons mounted in the water blow streams of water into the air and onto the passengers.

And, just when everyone on board is nearly water logged, a huge bucket storing 350 gallons of water dumps over just as the boat crosses under a bridge, further drenching them.

"On a hot day, it'll be extremely fun because it will cool you off instantly," said Gurnee resident Ed Schaefer. "Shooting water at people standing on land and in other boats is a lot of fun. More fun than I expected it would be."

Park president Hank Salemi said the latest ride is yet another in the park's overall theme to be more family-friendly.

"The interactive ride enhances the wide variety of family attractions available for our guests, including world class coasters, children's rides and the free water park," he said.