Missouri Fatal Incident Sparks Renewed Concerns About Boston Duck Tours

A woman driving a scooter was killed in 2016 during a crash with one of Boston's Duck Boat Tours vehicles

What to Know

  • At least 13 are dead after a duck boat capsized and sank on a Missouri lake during a thunderstorm Thursday; 4 are still missing
  • Boston Duck Tours says its severe weather policy allows them to cancel rides if the conditions are unsafe
  • Boston Duck Tour boats don't require seatbelts, but do have life jackets for safety

With the recent fatalities reported after a sightseeing duck boat capsized and sank in a Missouri lake, concerns over the safety of Boston’s own Duck Boat Tours have resurfaced.

The popular tourist ride boasts a unique, historical tour around the city and states that safety is its top priority.

After a fatal crash involving a motorist on a scooter in 2016, the company updated its operation to prevent another accident from happening again. A second person was assigned to each duck boat with one person operating the vehicle and the other giving a tour.

Tourists visiting Boston on Friday said although they felt horrible about what happened in Missouri, they felt safe riding the boats.

"I feel pretty safe about what's happening here in Boston," said Jennifer Young, a tourist visiting from California.

"On the way here to ride the duck boats, we said a prayer to all those that were affected, those that have passed away," added Colleen Willard, a tourist from Chicago.

The Missouri duck boat sank during a thunderstorm, killing at least 13 of the 31 people on board. Boston’s Duck Boat Tours’ severe weather policy states it may cancel rides if conditions are unsafe.

"I can just imagine the heartache and the tragedy because when you’re out and you're enjoying something, you know, fun to do in life, and all of a sudden tragedy hits. It’s really hard," Willard said.

"Boston Duck Tours runs rain or shine," their policy states. "However, we may be forced to cancel either the water portion or the entire tour itself under severe weather conditions... Cancellations are done at the discretion of the Dispatcher based on the current weather conditions at the time of the tour."

There are no seatbelts on board because state law does not require them, but they carry life jackets for safety and enforce several safety measures.

Vehicles are checked every year by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and U.S. Coast Guard, according to Boston’s Duck Boat Tours. Its vehicles are also reportedly checked multiple times a day by mechanics. Drivers must also complete several weeks of training before they can operate one of the vehicles.

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