The coolest and toughest summer job: mail boat jumping

Posted at 10:58 PM, Jun 09, 2021

LAKE GENEVA, Wisc. (WTMJ) -- It might be one of the coolest yet toughest summer jobs out there. The interview is more like a competition and the applicants are more like athletes. I'm talking about mail boat jumping. What's that you ask? Let me explain.

Lake Geneva is one of the few places in the world that still delivers mail by boat. On Geneva Lake, the U.S. Mailboat Walworth travels from dock to dock delivering mail. However, the boat never stops. It keeps moving at a steady 5 miles per hour.

That's where the mail jumper comes into play. They hop off the boat, rush to the mailbox, and hurry back to the boat before it's too late.

Sometimes the mailbox is close and at other times it's pretty far.

During tryouts, Erin Hansler had a successful first jump, but the second jump didn't go too well. Erin came up short and missed the boat.

“I got caught up in it. I thought too much. If I would have just jumped, I think I could have gotten back on the boat," Hansler said.

For others, mail jumping runs in their blood. Ethan Connely comes from a line of mail jumpers.

His mom worked on the boat and his sister was a jumper. He felt good about his attempts.

"I did pretty good on the entrance. I [a] little stuttered a bit just because I wanted to make sure I got my footing correctly.”

While it certainly doesn't look easy to spring off a boat and back on it, for some, they said looks were deceiving.

"When I was getting off, because we were going by really fast, but when you get on it's not as bad as you think it is," Marissa Torres-Raby said.

The company that operates the mail boat is the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. In the past two decades, they have begun holding tryouts for the role of mail boat jumper. It has become a popular summer job for teens.

In addition to delivering mail, they will also narrate a historical tour about the lavish homes on the lake.

This story originally reported by James Groh on