Have you ever seen one of those strange looking tour buses driving down the road, then magically, it dives right into open water? That is known as a Duck Boat, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions to date. Duck Boats are a special kind of amphibious vehicle that can operate both on land and at sea. If you happen to embark on a Duck Tour, you can expect to either commence your journey ashore then sail across a local bay, or the opposite.
But while these unique boats may intrigue even the most experienced of tourists, does the fact that the vehicles can traverse on water make them likely to lead to a boating accident? The answer is yes!
According to an online article in The Seattle Times, there have been at least four known fatal Duck Tour boating accidents in the United States since 1999. But these are just the ones that were reported. It’s hard to say how many passengers have sustained injuries during a Duck Tour ride throughout the years. And, since Duck Tours aren’t limited to the United States, travelers all around the world can be at risk for injury when riding aboard an amphibious vehicle.
So what are some of the factors contributing to Duck Tour boating accidents? Well, for one, since many tourist operations not sufficiently regulated, tour operators may not abide by the highest standards of safety. Operators may fail to maintain the amphibious vehicles in proper and safe working condition, which can cause equipment to malfunction or collisions to occur.
Duck Tour boating accidents can also be the result of the vehicle operator’s lack of experience or negligent actions. Speeding and a general failure to keep a lookout for other boaters or swimmers can cause a serious crash. If the boating accident is severe enough, it may even send passengers into the water, creating the potential to drown. This is what resulted from a Duck Boat accident in 1999, when 13 passengers, including three children, drowned after the amphibious vehicle they had been riding aboard, Miss Majestic, sunk in Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton.
Much like any other boating accident, those involving Duck Boats can also largely be prevented with greater attention to safety and passenger security. As studies have shown, the vast majority of Duck Tour boating accidents were due to mechanical problems that were unrecognized or left unfixed. But while tragedy can strike at any minute, those planning on taking a Duck Tour can lower their chances of getting hurt by researching various tour companies and their accident history. Prospective passengers can call operators if they have any questions and should ensure that the tour they choose provides life jackets to riders. In the event that a boating accident does occur, wearing a floatation device can mean the difference between a tragedy and survival.