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Old 07-20-2018, 06:33 PM   #21
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The surplus ones are getting harder to find and maintain. I think youíll see the industry switching to new bus/boats built for the industry.
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I read that the weather warning went out about 45 minutes before the storm hit. I donít know if the operators heard it or not. I canít imagine theyíd go out if they had heard it.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:03 PM   #22
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I would never go on a duck boat. If I remember correctly this isnít the first time there has been a incident like this.
Certainly not. They killed four passengers in Seattle onthe road!

I not only wouldn't get in one of the ungainly monstrosities, I hate driving near one. I don't think it would be any great loss if this event put them out of business.

The storm system was forecast and tracked for several hours with NWS alerts for the area. One wonders what weather briefing and risk assessment tools are available to the crews.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:13 PM   #23
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All these duck boats are subject to USCG Inspection and certification just like any other passenger vessel, no? Or are they exempt if they are only on inland lakes? And wouldn't the captain have to be licensed, and probably the grew too? I don't mean to suggest that either of these things is the cause of the accident, or that it would have prevented it. I'm just curious if there is some exemption these boats enjoy that other passenger vessels don't.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:22 PM   #24
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While subject to inspection, some things must be subject to exemption.....with exemptions, usually restrictions follow.

And as far as licensing goes, some is required as passengers are involved, not sure if a full masters is required or water taxi level would be OKed.

Here's an article with more about duck boats than anyone ever wanted to know... One thing tho, it seems most duck boats are not even true WWII replicas but built in appearance only and the rest to modern specs.

https://billypenn.com/2015/06/01/duc...e-theyre-safe/
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:48 PM   #25
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Open boats with little freeboard don't do well in unstable waters.
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:27 PM   #26
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These vehicles are not inherently unsafe. "Ride the Ducks" is just one company of many...and they take 1.2 million passengers per year.

Most of the accidents have been human error.

The Branson operation has been in operation for 40+ years and never had anything like this happen before.

PSNeeld: thanks for that link....lots of info there.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:15 PM   #27
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This is most similar to a sinking in Hot Springs in 1999 in which 13 our of 20 passengers died. The NTSB issued recommendations at that time including removing the canopies which kept passengers from escaping and adding backup bouyancy so they could stay awake if they got flooded as they sink very rapidly. I read about one that sunk quickly at a dock. The NTSB chairman in 1999 believes they should be banned. However, NTSB only regulates their road usage. The USCG does require a certificate of inspection and authorizes a certain route but has little involvement beyond that. Over the years more of their issues have been on land than in the water it seems.

One of the two survivors from the family that lost 9 said that the captain told them not to worry about putting on life jackets as they wouldn't need them.

The boat crew was aware of the approaching storm. In fact, they were told to do the water portion of the tour first to try to complete it before the storm.

It was interesting to read what operators in Portland, in Florida, in Chattanooga had to say after. They all talked about the precautions they take to make sure nothing like this happens including not going out if in bad conditions, such as winds over 20 knots or lightning seen in the distance or thunder heard. In some ways they threw the Missouri operators under the bus, whether intentional or inadvertently.

Captains are required to be USCG licensed and have CDL licenses. One change one operation had made in recent years after road accidents was to add a second crew member to do the tour announcing so the captain didn't have to. I don't know the staffing of this tour company.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:24 PM   #28
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... If I was ankle deep in water I think I'd have found a life jacket and started cutting the curtains open.
But then you are a man of action.
It's amazing how passive people become in any kind of "mechanical" crisis.

What surprised me was how he just pounded thru the waves. It seems he only knew "full speed ahead" and did't think to do anything else.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:27 PM   #29
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Not being there, I can't fault the boat. I can't fault the skipper. I do find fault with the moron who passed the law exempting the vessel from having PFD's.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:38 PM   #30
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Not being there, I can't fault the boat. I can't fault the skipper. I do find fault with the moron who passed the law exempting the vessel from having PFD's.
Who said they were exempt from having PFD's?
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:19 AM   #31
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You have to wonder why one sank and the other came through fine. They were traveling pretty much side by side. Watching the video, one took on water and the other didn’t.

CNN said there were life jackets on board.
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:24 AM   #32
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Steve Paul, with Test Drive Technologies, does not indicate why or when he inspected them, but said he inspected 24 Duck Boats in Branson last August and their exhaust systems didn't meet "federal standards" as their exhaust systems are on the front of the vehicle. Per him, this leads to water to the engines which can seize and then no bilge pump to remove water. Note that there is no evidence that this did, in fact, lead to the sinking but it could certainly help explain it. Also, he was working under DOT standards which require the exhaust to be higher than or behind the passengers. However, oversight of amphibious vehicles falls under the jurisdiction of the USCG, per the DOT spokesman.
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Old 07-21-2018, 07:31 AM   #33
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The articles keep referencing two crew, the "captain" and "driver." Perhaps they switch off? The one duck boat "driver" I spoke with years ago said he had to have a master's and a CDL with passenger bus (forget what they call it) endorsement.

From the video I saw, it looked like there was a rooster tail right up to the end. Not sure if the person with the camera stopped recording just before it sank, or the news media is cropping that part out of respect for the families (not a bad thing, IMHO.)

I think we now have enough fatalities with a canopy as a contributing factor that it should be looked at. There seem to be competing priorities; keep the passengers from accidentally getting/falling out, vs. making it easy for them to abandon ship. I don't have an answer, although I like the idea of carrying a knife if I ever board one of those things again.

I also wonder if it would have been even harder to escape from beneath that canopy if everyone was wearing a life jacket.

One last thing; some reports use the word "capsize," however, I've also read that it remained upright all the way to the lake bed, and even rolled down the bottom on it's wheels. That has implications for any suggested canopy design changes.
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Old 07-21-2018, 08:36 AM   #34
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About 20 years ago a Baltimore Inner Harbor pontoon boat water taxi flipped during a thunderstorm. No one banned pontoon boats but they did change their procedures.
Lack of anticipation of what could go wrong.
I remember the Baltimore event. I'm sure that there will be lessons learned from this tragedy, too.

Is there no shallow water or beach where the damned thing could have gone?

I know...hindsight has 20-20 vision. So sad.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:53 PM   #35
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But then you are a man of action.
It's amazing how passive people become in any kind of "mechanical" crisis.
You're right about that. In the few situations I've been on a boat where things were going wrong I was surprised how poorly others onboard were reacting to the situations. Folks want to follow direction or cling to notions of what "should be happening" instead of taking faster actions that could help save their lives.

Under normal conditions I think it's fair to say boat operators don't want passengers handling PFDs all the time and passengers don't want to wear them. But in the footage I've seen, they're clearly there on the ceiling and nobody's reaching for them, let alone wearing them! You can be damned sure I'd have pulled mine down, regardless of what the tour guide said or wanted. I'd much rather have someone yelling at me instead of drowning because of bad advice.
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:41 PM   #36
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Reflections of a DUKW driver

Many years ago (like more than 50) I was a member of an Army Amphibious Support Command and we had DUKW's, I was licensed to operate one. They were basically 2 1/2 ton cargo trucks modified to float with this huge steel (?) tub around the chassis. They were difficult to handle on both land and sea but served effectively as a lighter to carry cargo from a supply ship to a land based supply dump. Their bulk made visibility on land difficult and their single small screw made steering on the water a bit of a challenge. We NEVER took these vehicles out in any sort of weather or sea conditions.
I understand that these "Duck Boats" have been stretched and modified to allow them to accommodate more (paying) passengers. A canopy and side curtains were added for passenger comfort (with little regard for un-assing the vehicle).
I concur that these now ancient vehicles should be retired. Perhaps the sight-seeing boating industry could find a more suitable vehicle.
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Old 07-28-2018, 12:33 AM   #37
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These land crafts should be outlawed asap for public tours. If you want to privately own and run, have at it. The public unaware of seamanship rely on captains for their life safety. These families are being murdered on these vessels. They are not proper for general public.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:09 AM   #38
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These land crafts should be outlawed asap for public tours. If you want to privately own and run, have at it. The public unaware of seamanship rely on captains for their life safety. These families are being murdered on these vessels. They are not proper for general public.

This was a thoughtful discussion up to this point.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:27 AM   #39
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This was a thoughtful discussion up to this point.
Because you perhaps disagree with him, you don't think he was thoughtful?

I might point out that the former head of the NTSB, who headed it during the 1999 incident, agrees that DUKW tours should be outlawed. Are you saying he wasn't thoughtful?

I'd also point out that many captains strongly disapprove of the convenient limited licensing used by tour operators. Now, the tour operators say the captains are merely being self serving so they could get the jobs, but also say there is no way they could afford full captains.

I personally don't push outlawing but I would push for far more stringent oversight and regulation and for some specific changes. I'm not ready to say no DUKW tours should take place, but I've very ready to say this one should not have under the conditions it did.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:35 AM   #40
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I would think using the term "murdered" took away reasonableness and threw it into the pile of so many other emotional, not objective discussions.
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