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


That’s easy. It’s a cool concept, and unsuspecting civilians with no boating knowledge trust that the Coast Guard or some other gumment regulatory agency is looking out to make sure they are safe. If they weren’t safe they wouldn’t be allowed on the water. That would be the theory at least. Most of us know about the Miss Majestic incident in Arkansas and the one run down by the tow barge in Philly, but I’ll wager most of the passengers hadn’t heard of either one.


It is a cool concept. I’m happy that I had the opportunity to ride in one of these a few years back. I’m also not sure that it makes sense for the maritime community to fully condemn the Duck industry. It offers a service that gets some members of the public out on the water that otherwise would never have that opportunity. And really, what trip on the water is without risk? The maritime board of investigation and forthcoming NTSB report may well show that this particular vessel had maintenance issues. If that’s the case, then shame on the operator. It may well show that USCG abdicated their inspection responsibilities. Again shame on them. But the ultimate cause of the accident and deaths will surely be that this vessel was out in weather that exceeded it’s safe operating parameters. This doesn’t mean that the CG should pull all of the COIs. It means that operators, mariners, regulatory agencies all need to reevaluate what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future. But lessons-learned should apply whether it is a Duck, another El Faro, or an open fiberglass canoe on the same lake in the future.


it certainly does if it is proven that these craft do not have the reserve buoyancy needed to remain afloat if water comes over the rail! until such time that these things can be made to survive any flooding incident then they must be removed from offering their service to the public. an airliner discovered to have a fatal flaw in their design would not be allowed to continue to fly the public so why should a vessel? people can die due to the design flaw and no matter how remote the possibility, to continue earning profits for their owners at the risk to the customers is not acceptable! PERIOD…FULL STOP!


Like the inflatable pontoons helicopters have that operate near water.


exactly like them except at the perimeter of the upper hull instead of on the skids or bottom of the fuselage


Yeah, @Hogsnort seemed to think that idea was stupid and “a good laugh over breakfast” when I suggested it previously. Apparently he was incapable of processing the idea that the floatbags could be put somewhere other than the bottom.

I dunno, a declaration that they’re inherently unseaworthy is the only true answer that should come of this, but short of that, emergency floatation of some sort (like this) seems like a reasonable additional requirement.


I did not think that the idea of a floatation device was stupid and of course it makes sense to place the pontoons or what ever up near the gunwales of a vessel. The only reason that a helicopter has them where they are is because there is this thing beating shit out of the air and emitting hot exhaust .
The amusement I gained was reading some of the more fanciful discourse that appeared in the forum.


Anyone else remember the “Amphicars” of the 1950’s? Basically a small convertible top sports car with a watertight body and a propeller. I believe they were made in France.

I’m sure they were totally unsafe, but what convertible isn’t.

They were certinly cool. I’d like to have one.



The Amphicar Model 770 was designed by Hans Trippel and series built in West Berlin with a British motor. It was launched in 1961 on the New York Auto Show. It had no rudder, steering was done by means of the wheels which made it difficult to steer and keep course. Fun though!

One Amphicar even crossed the British Channel. If you are interested, to tour the Caribbean for instance, they are still for sale for enormous collectors prices.


The sinking of two duck tour boats in 2013, one in the River Mersey at Liverpool and the other in the river Thames in London, was due to a fault with the foam used to provide buoyancy, an official report has found.

In June 2013, 33 people had to be rescued when the ‘Yellow Duckmarine’ nose-dived into the River Mersey in Liverpool. Note the escape hatch in the canopy! Furthermore I have the impression that the sinking was delayed by the foam, it didnot sink like a rock.

Terrified passengers, including small children, were forced into icy waters when two amphibious boats sank in separate incidents earlier that year.

One accident involved the sinking of a DUKW as a result of flooding, and the other involved a fire, the link between both events is the foam inserted into the DUKWs to provide buoyancy.

The fire was caused by the foam being packed too tightly around some of the DUKW’s machinery, resulting in friction and overheating. It is a wonder that there were no casualties in both incidents!

Chief Marine Accident Inspector Captain Steve Clinch said:

“I have therefore recommended to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency that the DUKWs should not be permitted to operate until the required standards of buoyancy and stability can be achieved without adversely impacting on their safe operation.”

London Duck Tours stopped running last September due to the loss of the Thames access point because of the building of the London Super Sewer.


This is all that needs to be said. Well done Captain!


A full length video of the River Mersey incident:


No harbor patrol boats and it took a long time for the police and fire brigades to respond.


Here is the MAIB report. It is a good read and also discusses past DUCK incidents including the Miss Majestic.


It is indeed a very good read!

A buoyancy test was held at Cammell Laird shipyard. The insertion of 7.93 m3 of foam into the designated locations kept the DUKW afloat but rendered the vehicle inoperable. It was found that the DUKWs had only 6 m3 of foam, too little to keep them afloat.

After the Miss Majestic incident and prior to publishing its report, the NTSB issued the following recommendation to the operators and refurbishers of APVs:

“Without delay, alter your amphibious passenger vessels to provide reserve buoyancy through passive means, such as watertight compartmentalization, built in oatation, or equivalent measures, so that they will remain a oat and upright in the event of ooding, even when carrying a full complement of passengers and crew.”

Nicely worded but only one (1!) of the 30 APV operators in the US accepted this recommendation. The DUKW operators argued strongly that compartmentalization would introduce unacceptable levels of stress in the hull when operating on the road, and the insertion of buoyancy foam was not practical and would introduce many problems. What problems could that be? Yes, it takes teams of 4 men 7 days (approximately 280 man hours) to insert the new buoyancy foam into the hull of the vehicles.

This slack attitude and the lack of enforcement from the side of the government has led to the present situation where APV’s can be labelled as being unsafe.


The NTSB in the USA has no enforcement ability neither can they make regulation all they do is recommend. Those things are the responsibility of the USCG and congress. In the USA they HATE regulation [public protection] because it interferes with “business” [money]. A smart business operating a risky though legal business is careful to move money to a safe place and pay their executives well while times are good . When the inevitable disaster occurs the smart business owner or CEO does not have to worry about breaking a law and going to jail because no law/regulation exists. The business, a piece of paper, declares bankruptcy right after paying their lobbyists at the first sign of a civil suit.
This continues until a law/regulation is passed to stop it. The USA has proven it takes a lot of dead people to make it worth passing a regulation and then enforcing it.


That is the reason the FAA and USCG are known as "tombstone agencies) … until the public is frightened by the fields of tombstones they will defer to industry, lobbyists, and congressional campaign contributors.


Yes, you are firmly established among the “special group of idiots.”


They added something like at least 10 lbs of extra foam weight to the boat. Just air was not good enough, had to be replaced by foam. Ah well, a little bit deeper in the water but more stability and they could feel the difference:wink:


the stoopidity of the average American is truly astounding and thus explains pretty much all the reasons why a once great nation continues to sink into the depths towards ultimate oblivion.