The Jumping Mailmen of Lake Geneva

Every year, athletic young people in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, try out for a unique summer job — mail jumping. They need to prove that they can jump off of a moving boat onto a private dock, deliver the mail, and then jump back on the boat before it passes by. The residents of Lake Geneva have been getting mail delivered by boat since before roads were built in the area, so the practice has become somewhat of a local tradition, one that attracts loads of tourists to the area. In fact, during the summer months, the mail boat can take approximately 160 tourists along on mail delivery runs and operates at full capacity almost every day. Watching and recording the jumping mailmen deliver the mail to the around 60 homes on Lake Geneva is something that many will gladly pay to be able to do. The U.S. Postal Service hires six jumping mailmen every summer. Typical Lake Geneva postmen will miss the return jump onto the mail boat at least once during their career, which means they have to be fished out of the water and work the rest of the day wet. Each postman jumps between 45 and 60 times a day. The mailbox is roughly 30 feet away from the boat, so it’s difficult to make that jump and ensure that you get back to the boat.