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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: SWAT
SWAT RIVER TOURS. A popular attraction to the ICE HARBOR, the company founded in 2013, offered fast-paced river tours reaching 40-miles per hour using a 24-foot, rigid-hull, inflatable boat like those used by the U. S. Navy and Coast Guard. (1) Jon Roth, the founder, came up with the idea in 2012 while working the zip line at the YMCA camp in Dubuque.

Roth communicates with customers through two-way headsets allowing him to provide a soundtrack to his tours and share a mix of historical and ecological information about the region. (2) In 2015 with fifty reviews on TripAdvisor, the company had a 100% rating as "excellent. (3)

Through a revenue-sharing plan the city allowed the business to use the Dubuque Marina docks in exchange for a percentage of its tour revenue which nearly tripled from 2014 to 2015. (4)



1. Barton, Thomas J., "Port of Dubuque Marina Beats Financial Projections," Telegraph Herald, November 20, 2015, p. 2A

2. Montgomery, Jeff. "SWAT River Tours Rolling with Fast Rides on the Mississippi," Telegraph Herald, July 20, 2014, Online: http://www.thonline.com/news/business/article_d1db82bf-d064-5242-bfff-16be0e784b6c.html

3. "SWAT River Tours," TripAdvisor. Online: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g37853-d5616256-Reviews-SWAT_River_Tours-Dubuque_Iowa.html

4. Barton, p. 2A