Legislation Partially Addresses Fatal 'Duck Boat' Accidents [April 29, 2022]   [open pdf - 778KB]

From the Document: "Amphibious passenger vehicles (APVs), widely known as 'duck boats,' are tourist vehicles designed to drive on roads and operate as boats in water. Several fatal accidents have drawn attention to potential shortcomings in regulation of these unique vehicles (also known while afloat as 'vessels'), which are subject to oversight by multiple federal and state agencies. Legislation passed in the House and pending in the Senate would bring tighter regulation of duck boats while afloat but does not address recommendations intended to increase their safety while operating on the road. Duck boats host thousands of tours for more than one million passengers annually. About 200 such vehicles operate domestically. The original vehicles, referred to as DUKW, were built during World War II to deliver cargo from ships at sea directly to the shore and often to evacuate injured military personnel. The name DUKW, which became 'duck' over time, is from military terminology--D refers to the year designed (1942); U refers to utility; K to all-wheel drive powertrain; and W to dual-powered rear axles. Some of the vehicles in use today have been refurbished, and others were built more recently. Many duck boats are operated under a license from the private company Ride the Ducks International (RTDI), but others may be operated independently. [...] The 116th Congress considered legislation to improve Coast Guard regulation of APVs, with the Senate passing S. 1031, the Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act of 2020, in December 2020. Similar legislation, S. 62, has been introduced in the 117th Congress. On March 29, 2022, the House passed legislation reported by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure--H.R. 6865, the Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022--which includes new requirements for the Coast Guard's regulation of APVs."

Report Number:
CRS In Focus, IF12088
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
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