Open Accessibility Menu
Experienced. Aggressive. Trial Lawyers.
- Arnold & Itkin LLP

An Inspector Reported Hazards on Sunken Duck Boat Months Ago

After last week’s tragic duck boat accident, information regarding the startling and unsafe history of the amphibious vehicles has been steadily emerging. Last Thursday, a duck boat owned and operated by Ride the Ducks capsized during a tour of Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri. The accident took the lives of 17 people and injured 7 others.

A Failure In Design

Steven Paul, a mechanical inspector, appeared on CNN earlier this week. He shared about his inspection of the duck boats, owned and operated by Ride the Ducks, last August. Paul expressed his dismay that his warnings were ignored after he pointed out dangerous mechanical flaws that could cause engine failure. According to the inspector, he noted that the vessel had its exhaust at the front of the boat. Its design meant that in rough waters the exhaust would take on water, which would eventually stop the engine.

Last week, the inspector learned that his predictions had come to pass.

Ignored Warnings

Paul stated that he reported the boat’s faults and informed the company that it was in violation of Department of Transportation standards. These standards require exhaust outlets to be on the passenger side of the boat to help avoid disastrous water intake. The inspector did not hear back from the company. When speaking about the company’s reaction to his report, Paul stated, “I pretty much got a, ‘Thank you for your report.’ And they paid their invoice.”

The Branson portion of Ride the Ducks was sold December of 2017 to Ripley Entertainment Inc.

Duck Boats & Their History of Tragedy

Throughout the week, we have reported on the tragic history of duck boats. Designed as transport vehicles during WWII, these amphibious vessels were not made with civilian use in mind. The lumbering vehicles do not maneuver well on land and have safety features which have barely been updated in the 70 years since their creation. On the water, the boats have developed a reputation for trapping people under their canopy if they sink. In fact, the vessels have been described as “sinking coffins.”

This is not the first time boats from Ride the Ducks have injured or killed someone. Since 2010, duck boats owned by the company have been involved in incidents that have killed 8 people and have injured dozens of others.

Our duck boat accident attorneys hope that operators and businesses nationwide realize the danger of these vehicles and alter them accordingly.