17 dead after duck boat sinks at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri


#43

It is wise to fit sponsons, which some authorities justly so require, because it increases the beam and thus the BM and GM providing that KG remains the same but the angle of deck immersion decreases. However, in my view it always is a makeshift solution. Fact remains that Ducks are not boats in the real sense, more of a strange contraption only to be allowed in a strictly controlled environment.


#44

Mariners should know the definitions used in a forecast.

Severe Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm that produces a tornado, winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots or ~93 km/h), and/or hail at least 1" in diameter. Structural wind damage may imply the occurrence of a severe thunderstorm. A thunderstorm wind equal to or greater than 40 mph (35 knots or ~64 km/h) and/or hail of at least ½" is defined as approaching severe.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch

This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area. A severe thunderstorm by definition is a thunderstorm that produces one inch hail or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour. The size of the watch can vary depending on the weather situation. They are usually issued for a duration of 4 to 8 hours. They are normally issued well in advance of the actual occurrence of severe weather. During the watch, people should review severe thunderstorm safety rules and be prepared to move a place of safety if threatening weather approaches

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

This is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately.

This link is a good one:It Didn’t Strike Without Warning — The Table Rock Boat Accident

The NWS Storm Prediction Center has issued a

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch for portions of
    Western and Central Missouri

  • Effective this Thursday morning and evening from 1120 AM until
    900 PM CDT.

  • Primary threats include…
    Widespread damaging winds likely with isolated significant gusts
    to 75 mph possible
    Scattered large hail likely with isolated very large hail events
    to 2.5 inches in diameter possible
    A tornado or two possible

Severe Thunderstorm Watch: This is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms in and close to the watch area.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning: This is issued when either a severe thunderstorm is indicated by the WSR-88D radar or a spotter reports a thunderstorm producing hail one inch or larger in diameter and/or winds equal or exceed 58 miles an hour; therefore, people in the affected area should seek safe shelter immediately.

Severe Thunderstorm

A thunderstorm that produces a tornado, winds of at least 58 mph (50 knots or ~93 km/h), and/or hail at least 1" in diameter. Structural wind damage may imply the occurrence of a severe thunderstorm. A thunderstorm wind equal to or greater than 40 mph (35 knots or ~64 km/h) and/or hail of at least ½" is defined as approaching severe.


#45

deleted


#46

I had posted something similar, but wasn’t able to quickly find the link you included. As your post note4s, there is a very significant difference between a watch an warning. The definitions make it pretty clear that the earlier watch was not “…giving false alarms all day long.” The upgrade to a warning validates the issuance of the earlier watch.


#47

According to reports the boat operators knew bad weather was expected.

One possibility, the boat operators may have been watching the sky for the thunderheads but they may not have had a clear view. Or if they were watching on a phone app they may have played it too close. That gust front might not have shown up on some weather radars or phone apps. The heavy rain shows up no problem

I’ve been hit twice that way, watching on our phone, thinking we were going to be all fast before it hit and bang, got hit while still trying to get turned around and lined up. Playing it a little too smart.

In this case the worse case scenario is a much higher consequence event than parting a tug line and getting blown up onto the bank or into the pier.


#48

Based on the timeline above, it would be interesting to know when the boats entered the water and when they turned back to run to safety.


#49

Did «they» really know the difference between «Watch» and «Warning»? Again, are these broadcasted words emphasized? How come two boats got stuck in severe weather at the exact same location and time? I can understand that one skipper would not have the knowledge to differentiate the world between these two words, but two skippers at the same time! Between 06:32pm and 07:09pm, the time was ticking very fast and there was still only half an hour left, probably much less, to seek shelter. To say that they got taken by surprise is probably not that false. I had been caught by surprise a few times on large lakes onboard very small boats. I found my mercy by hoving to!


#50

According to the Ride the Ducks Table Rock Adventure section of the Reserve Branson website, Duck Tours depart every 30 minutes June 1 - August 12
Not surprisingly, the site also states that the tours are not currently available.


#51

These are essentially open boats with no reserve stability. Given the fetch on that big lake and propensity in that area for thunderstorms it would require a sophisticated and robust shore-side safety go/no-go system to operate safely. I’d be surprised if an operation like that would have such a system. Even if it did have one likely it would erode over time to save expenses.

In any case given the consequences of a incident it would be a mistake to leave go/no-go decisions up to the captains.


#52

I’ll hazard a guess that the majority of captains in these types of operations are young 25 ton inland license holders with limited weather experience who would rely on guidance from a more experienced fleet captain or manager.


#53

Another point is that normally with small boats for passengers they are usually sufficiently seaworthy that the weather limit is based on passenger comfort. So in rough weather ops get canceled. If they get caught out they can make it back with the passengers puking.

But in this case the boats are big enough that the passengers are still comfortable but if they get caught out the boat will sink. Not much margin for error.


#54

It could be less than that. They may be working under a license restricted to a specific type of vessel, company, and/or geographic area. The Coast Guard can modify service and exam requirements for an endorsement based on the nature of the limitation it puts on the license. See 46 CFR 11.201(l). The post from "By C’ above suggest that such an arrangement is in place for the duck operation in Seattle.


#55

Yeah, and they really don’t want anyone with an unrestricted license and sea going experience already either. When the downturn in O&G first hit and I was sitting on the beach looking at dwindling funds for a while, I applied with the Hot Springs duck rides (yes, I know, I had a death wish and zero brains, but if you knew my ex-wife, that’d go without saying). They saw my 1600t/2M Unlimited and told me straight up, “oh, I’m sorry, we don’t hire people with licenses already.” They’ve gone through some management changes since then, so hopefully they’ve got their heads out of their asses now.


#56

I ran into this when doing occasional freelance work for a company that ran live-aboard dive boats. They preferred to hire dive masters and train them to do things their way. Their method produced captains with a very narrow level of seamanship but the company will never see it until one of them gets into a bad jam and they get slapped with a major lawsuit. Mmm… is there a parallel here with the DUK operators?


#57

They “should” know the difference if they are going to take people on the water in anything. And ‘they’ includes those in direct command of the boat and those that run, operate, and manage a company that takes people on the water in anything.


#58

Some items from looking at news reports;
Engine exhaust was in the front of the boat??
There were three boats in the water when the storm hit,
The route may have been changed from road first then water to water first because of the weather forecasts, maybe trying to beat the line of thunderstorms.
Go/no-go was the captain’s call.

I don’t see how it can be left up to the captains when there are three boats. if one captain cancels what about the other boats, to they go out? Were there any weather limits imposed by the CG COI?


#59

More than three days after the deadly accident, a crane attached to a barge pulled the amphibious duck boat from Table Rock Lake near Branson, where it was submerged in 80 feet of water.

In this article more incidents with the Ducks are described which is not really a surprise but obviously a lot has to happen before proper and final action is taken.

On Saturday, former NTSB chairman James Hall said the design of duck boats makes them prone to the type of accident that occurred in Missouri, particularly when weather turns bad. He said they should be banned.

Duck boat manufacturers should establish wind and wave height limits and recommendations for their vehicles and the US Coast Guard should in turn assure that duck boat operators adhere to these limits and recommendations when planning and conducting their operations. But are the manufacturers still there after so many years? If not the USCG have to set these limits.


#60

Given the regional weather patterns and history of NWS liability for failing to predict dangerous weather (or even for overestimating the level of a disturbance) it is easy for weather “customers” to ignore or downplay the constant stream of warnings that accompany every afternoon thunderstorm. It is nearly impossible to get an aviation weather forecast that doesn’t include the threat of severe icing in clouds and precipitation. When you hear it often enough you tend to blow it off.
Unless or until they ban those DUKWs and look-a-likes the only way to prevent weather related incidents is to restrict them to use within 10 feet of shore in less than 4 feet of water on calm cool days with no clouds and no reported or forecast convective activity within 100 miles of the intended voyage.

Seems like a lot of knee jerking going on in this thread.


#61

It seems that they use the same strategy in the Yacht industry; brain wash you up before you know too much and become a threat to their reinvented maritime mission and vision!


#62

One observation, with the Dukws they are probably issued with some form of seating limit by the USCG or local authorities. Is this based on a nominal ‘standard person’ e.g., size, height, weight etc.

Am speculating there may be a situation as occurred in the N Sea where offshore workers grew in size over the years. This had consequences for helicopters, life saving appliances as the workers became physically larger than the weight and space allotted.

In a Dukw will little or no reserve buoyancy a few percentage points over calculated weight increases the risk of swamping and eventual foundering.