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


Hall’s opinion is worth no more than anyone else’s. He hasn’t been in office since Bill Clinton was around.

That is not accurate. Although NTSB has been fairly critical of the boats in their past MARs. Especially of the canopies.


You’re right, the linked article did not specifically use the term unsafe. According to the article the NTSB has criticized the lack of CG oversight, recommended the removal of the canopies, recommended that passengers NOT wear their life vest while aboard so not to get trapped and it has pointed out that the boats lack adequate reserve buoyancy.

re the canopies from NTSB:

"Canopies present major safety risks that need to be addressed

I read that as bureaucratese for unsafe.

Also a ex-NTSB has made some very pointed critical remarks but characterizing that as “unsafe” is an opinion.

I feel like I’m at a deposition.


That’s what I was about to post. The Branson boats were modified by lengthening 15" in addition to adding the heavy enclosed canopy.

Is there a docket yet?



The Boston Duck has more freeboard, that is if I count the platings between the what I suppose are longitudinal strengthening bars. Also from the video of the Boston Kid Tours I get the impression that they are lying much higher in the water then the Ripley Ducks. Also compare the hull above the front wheel wells of both vehicles.


The sterns are a bit different as well. Looks like the Boston one might be longer too.

San Diego has duck boats but they looked as though they were built specifically for the job:


I have no idea or concern what they’re doing in Singapore, but the pictures posted were LARC-V’s, which are from the 70’s. Not WWII

Most modern “Ducks” used for tours in the US, are either purpose built vessels like the Hydra-Terra CAMI Hydra Terra or a Seahorse, Seahorse Amphibious Vehicles | Tourism | Leisure | Civil Defence , or they’re completely rebuilt Old DUKW’s, which Branson builds themselves, or they’re completely new vessels from AAD or another builder.


Seahorse Amphibious Vehicles | Tourism | Leisure | Civil Defence

Our revolutionary amphibious vehicle is the ultimate machine on the market. Purpose built to offer first class c…

CAMI Hydra Terra

CAMI Hydra Terra

There seems to be this idea on here that these operators are going and buying WWII relics, getting them running, and running them for tours.

These are ALL USCG inspected and certified boats.

I’m pretty intimately familiar with operations at Branson, as well as with other RTD operations, as I’m one of the “Original” former RTD Capt’s.

I have 35+ years of real maritime industry experience, including 15 years of OC towing, oilfield work, and training mariners.

I’m not lacking in knowledge about what I speak.


Top Contributer

    July 22

If you are talking about the ones used for Duck Tours in Singapore, I did not believe (or state) that they were new. In fact I thought they originated from USA and was of the WWII model, like the one that sunk three days ago:

The amphibious vessel that sank Thursday night at Table Rock Lake, killing 17 people aboard, was a relic of World War II — built the same year U.S. soldiers set foot on Normandy Beach. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the name of the boat that sank was STRETCH DUCK 07, a 33-foot-long vessel built in 1944.

Apparently they are actually built in 1970’s for use by the Singapore Armed Forces, according to the article you linked to:

Singapore Ducktours (those are built in 1973-77 under Singapore Armed Forces from Seletar Camp, withdrawn in 2000 - 2002, converted in batches in 2002 - 2007)

The Splash buses used in Rotterdam and elsewhere are of much newer design and built for the tourist market: http://www.datbv.com/


A disturbing photo to say the least. There were 31 people aboard, the boat must have been underwater when the 14 escaped. Can’t tell for sure but it looks like that boarding ladder is blocking the rear exit. Don’t know if the crew (1 driver 1 captain) managed to unfasten the canopy or not.


I went through underwater egress training from inside a 6 passenger helicopter fuselage dunked into a deep tank. This was at a Navy facility, our performance was monitored by qualified rescue divers, we were all in good shape, and we knew we were going in because the fuselage was launched down a long steep ramp simulating a crash. I’ll grant that it flipped upside down at the bottom of the tank adding an extra degree of difficulty.
Nevertheless, by all accounts the Branson tourists were packed in like sardines. With no training, no warning, having to fight their way to a single narrow egress point choked with other panicked landubbers as the DUK sank to the bottom is the stuff of nightmares.
May they rest in peace.


Same thing happened to me. Welcome to the land of free press !!!


I was also thinking about my HUET. I can’t imagine trying to wrangle kids though that, without an opportunity to explain, first. Even people who have had HUET, I don’t think that helicopter ditching survival rates are all that good.

They keep on plugging away on the life-vests, what was given for instructions, why they weren’t used… but I think that a life-jacket might have made escape much more difficult in this case. Don’t you reckon more would have died if they had all been wearing life-vests?


Recordings show rapid weather change before fatal duck boat accident

The captain and driver boarded the vessel at 6:27 p.m. The excursion begins on land at a terminal in Branson. Normally, the vessel tours the popular country music and entertainment community first before going to the lake for about a 20-minute boat ride. The driver drives the vehicle on land, and the captain takes over on the water.

But the video recordings show that at 6:28 p.m., someone briefly stepped onto the rear of the vehicle and told the crew to take the water portion of the tour first. A minute later, with passengers boarding, the captain made a reference to looking at the weather radar prior to the trip.

The vessel arrived at the lake a few minutes before 7 p.m. and the captain briefed passengers on the location of emergency exits and life jackets, then demonstrated use of life jackets and pointed out the location of life rings. The vessel entered the water around 6:55 p.m. at a time when the water appeared calm, the NTSB said. In fact, over the next five minutes the captain allowed four different children to sit in the driver’s seat.

But suddenly just after 7 p.m., whitecaps rapidly appeared on the water and winds increased, the NTSB said. The captain returned to the driver’s seat. The driver lowered plastic side curtains and at 7:01 p.m. the captain made a comment about the storm.

At 7:03 p.m. the captain made a call on a handheld radio but the content was unintelligible. A minute late, an electronic tone associated with the bilge alarm activated, until about a minute later when the captain reached down and the alarm stopped.

The captain made another call on a handheld radio at 7:05 but the content was again unintelligible. Over the next couple of minutes, water splashed inside the passenger compartment.

At 7:07 p.m. an electronic tone associated with the bilge alarm activated again. At 7:08 p.m. the inward-facing video recording ended as the vessel was still on the surface of the water.


To be trapped by that canopy is a frightening prospect for anybody, nightmarish. Was it possible to unfasten and remove the canopy manually or was it a fixed contraption? One possible very quick and simple solution to remove the canopy at the flick of a switch are exploding bolts which are for instance in use on the Mercedes SLS AMG road car. Ten to fifteen milliseconds after a detected rollover, explosive bolts automatically separate the doors from the car for easy exit during a serious accident,

Explosive SLS doors.


On the duck boat Miss Majestic there were 21 pob, 1 got out as it was sinking and 6 more got out underwater.


In my experience, folks who have never donned type II PFD’s which I assume the DUK was carrying, have to be helped and coached, like putting a coat on a toddler, even after a demonstration.
It looks like the sinking was very quick since not even one passenger is visible surfacing as the top of the canopy is going under.
Even if they had managed to get into a PFD under water which is highly unlikely, they risked being pinned under that death trap of a canopy or causing even more of a bottleneck trying to squeeze out from under it or trying to exit through the stern opening.


Could a lightweight hard cover be made like a floating pontoon, surrounded by grabbing ropes and attached by means of a manual and hydrostatic launching system?


We’ve established that the sides are roll up vinyl curtains and an available escape route, what “single narrow egress point” are you referring to?


The sides weren’t rolled up in the video and didn’t appear to be flapping or fluttering in the wind. It’s entirely possible that they were secured in a way that wouldn’t be easy or intuitive to open from the inside.


The canopy was removed according to this article:‘The captain was freaking out,’ teen survivor tells mom of Missouri duck boat sinking

When the boat started to sink, Keller said she thought it was “total and utter chaos.”

“Gillian said the captain was freaking out,” Keller said. “She said, ‘I was freaking out because he was freaking out.
When the boat submerged, Keller said the canopy was on and the windows were sealed, but her ex-husband said the captain had a moment of clarity and was able to release the canopy of the boat.

“They were all closed,” Keller said her daughter told her. “The windows were closed and the top was on. They were all stuck in there until that top came off.”

Gillian is a strong, hard-headed young woman, Keller said. And she proved that when she had to get out of the boat. Keller said Gillian told her she thought she was going to die.

“She said the thought popped in her head, ‘I’m not dying today,’ and the top came off, and she said, ‘It was so hard to get out of the boat, Mom. It was so hard to get out of the boat.’”


It’s a guess based on the fact that no one appears to have escaped out the sides while the DUK was almost completely submerged.


here is another stoopidly simple idea which appears to have been overlooked to date…

why not an inflatable bladder on the hull perimeter on these things which can be activated by the driver or captain? make it big enough and not only is capsizing virtually eliminated but so is foundering