If you work on a Duck boat, you know that it could be a little dangerous if you sank. After one such boat sank in Missouri, the Coast Guard determined that these boats do need a redesign.
An April 28 report described the U.S. Coast Guard’s determination, which is that these amphibious tour vehicles need to have their canopies, curtains and surrounding framework removed for safety. In 2018, a Ride the Ducks vehicle sank near Branson, and that incident killed 17 of 31 people on board. The people on board may have gotten trapped by the canopy or curtains as the boat sank, making it impossible for them to swim to safety. On top of that, the boats would fill with water quickly and sink due to their design, which the Coast Guard urged to be altered.
The owner of the boat, Ripley Entertainment, has so far settled 31 lawsuits regarding the deaths of people using Duck boats. Ripley purchased the attraction in Branson in 2017, though it has been a major attraction for around 50 years. The operations were suspended following the accident in 2018.
As a worker who is familiar with Duck boats or who uses one that is not owned by Ripley, you should be aware that these have their risks. The new update suggestions could help make them safer, keeping you, your crew and your passengers from being trapped or drowning if the boat does overturn or start to sink. If you have lost someone in a Duck accident or were hurt in one yourself, you should remember to use your workers’ compensation claim to seek compensation.