What is a Duck Boat and are they Dangerous?

duck boat

A Duck Tour in Singapore

Recently in Seattle there was an accident between a bus and a duck boat which led to 5 deaths.

What is a Duck Boat or Duck Tour?

Duck boats, previously known as DUKWs and LARC-Vs, were originally six-wheel amphibious assault vehicles used by the U.S. military. They were basically designed to get troops off of boats and into combat as quickly as possible. Essentially, they were disposable or at least not expected to last very long.

Many were sold as surplus and redeployed as duck boats. They are found in cities like Seattle, Austin, Boston, Rio De Janerio, Singapore and others located on major rivers, oceans or other waterfronts.

The boats have been popular tourist attractions for decades.

Are Duck Boats Safe?

The Seattle accident caused many to question whether the boats were appropriate for city traffic or not. Some raised questions even earlier.

In Philadelphia in 2010, there was a terrible accident between a duck boat and a tug boat which killed two Hungarian students. Investigators later learned that the captain of the tug was on his cell phone; the captain’s mate, who was in charge at the time, was later sentenced to prison. The families were awarded $15 million.

In 1999, a duck boat sank in Hot Springs, Arkansas, killing 13.

In 2002, an accident in Ottawa led to four deaths.

And there have been several incidents in London which, while not fatal, nonetheless led to people jumping ship to save their lives.

Many people are concerned about the safety of these vehicles which are, so to speak, neither fish nor fowl: they weren’t designed as road vehicles, nor were they designed as boats.

What they are are hybrids designed during World War II as a cheap and effective way to get soldiers off boats and into battle as quickly as possible. That was their only role.

That these vehicles have had long and useful lives speaks well of the many entrepreneurs who bought and retrofitted them, but if they were people, many would be on social security and quite a few would be dead and buried.

Simply put: is it time to retire these vehicles?

If you are involved in a bus accident feel free to visit my comprehensive bus accident page.

Duck Tour Image Credit: By Terence [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Sherman Oaks, CA

Law Offices of Steers & Associates
5900 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 270
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411
Phone: (800) 824-5416
Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Los Angeles, CA

Law Offices of Steers & Associates
445 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 2700
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Phone: (800) 824-5416
Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Lancaster, CA

Law Offices of Steers & Associates
1805 West Avenue K
Lancaster, CA 93534
Phone: (800) 824-5416
Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Riverside, CA

Law Offices of Steers & Associates
11801 Pierce Street, Suite 200
Riverside, CA 92505
Phone: (800) 824-5416
Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr: 9:00am - 5:30pm

Long Beach, CA

Law Offices of Steers & Associates
111 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 400
Long Beach, CA 90802
Phone: (800) 824-5416
Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr: 9:00am - 5:30pm