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A tiki hut and floating bar sets sail in Salem

Tiki Time is offering a little slice of paradise.

Tiki Hut Boats
Tiki Hut Boats will launch on Saturday, Sept. 21. DMB Photography

Picture this: You’re relaxing under a thatched bamboo hut, sipping a tropical drink while steel drums play in the background and a macaw perches above you.

The macaw is mechanical, and the bamboo hut is on a boat in the middle of the Salem Harbor, but Karen LaBelle-Paszkowski and Scott “Paz” Paszkowski are hoping it’s paradise all the same.

On Saturday, the married couple is launching Tiki Hut Boats, which offers 90-minute cruises on “Tiki Time,” their compact boat that holds a tiki bar, some stools, and a small bathroom. The idea for the boat was inspired by the Florida-based Cruisin’ Tiki franchise, and there isn’t anything like it in the Boston area.

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This is a side gig for both LaBelle-Paszkowski, a medical assistant, and Paszkowski, who runs a fishing charter business. They purchased the boat in May and spent six weeks putting it together, complete with two mechanical macaws that they programmed to reply with a few phrases. (When Scott says, “get me a tequila,” the macaws squawk, “make mine a double.”) Now that it’s ready for use, the couple is going all in: Reservations are available for $30 per person, seven days a week, with cruises running all day on Saturdays and Sundays and on evenings during the week (Wednesday cruises will start at 2 p.m.).

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On the boat, which can accommodate up to six guests, passengers may purchase cocktails, beer, wine, sodas, hot coffee, water, and snacks. There will be a selection of frozen drinks, along with Bloody Marys and mimosas on the weekend, plus four or five specialty drinks that change on a weekly basis. LaBelle-Paszkowski said that they have acquired a Ship Master License, a liquor license which requires that the vessel must be moving while alcohol is being sold.

As the boat makes its way around the harbor — going four to five miles an hour to avoid drink spillage — LaBelle-Paszkowski said that she and Paszkowski, who has his U.S. Coast Guard 50T Master Captain’s license, will play Caribbean music, country, and whatever else their passengers want to hear.

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“Anything that makes you feel like you have your feet in the sand,” LaBelle-Paszkowski said.

The feedback so far has been one of excitement, said LaBelle-Paszkowski, with even Salem mayor Kim Driscoll expressing her approval on Twitter.

Interested in a mini Caribbean cruise? Head to the Tiki Hut Boats website to make a reservation while the weather is still nice. Bookings will be accepted through Oct. 31, at which time LaBelle-Paszkowski and Paszkowski will be closing their tropical venture for the season.

Tiki Hut Boats; 10 Blaney St., Salem; Saturdays from 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sundays from 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays from 6 p.m.–8 p.m., Wednesdays from 2 p.m.–8 p.m., tikihutboats.com

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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Tiki Hut Boats is part of the Cruisin’ Tiki franchise. It was inspired by that franchise but has no affiliation.