Duck Boat rides returning to Branson, Mo. for summer season
BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Duck Boat rides will return to Branson nearly four years after a duck boat tragedy killed 17 people on Table Rock Lake.
The Branson Duck Tours is newly owned and operated. Chief Communications Officer Josh Blumenthal says the tours will feature newer, safer, and U.S. Coast Guard-approved vehicles.
The duck tours will leave from the Branson Landing and set sail on Lake Taneycomo. The tours will take place on the Hydra-Terra amphibious vehicle. A vehicle staff says is the biggest asset to their safety plan.
“The largest improvement to our vehicles that differentiates them is the foam-filled hull that prevents sinking,” said Josh Blumenthal.
Blumenthal says additional safety measures include captain visibility from all passenger seats, wider aisle ways, and an improved fire suppression system.
”Our boats will not have side curtains and I think that’s really important,” said Blumenthal. “That was such a big part of what added to the 2018 tragedy.”
Branson Landing marketing director Nikki Kinney says having entertainment for families in Branson is very important. She hopes the added safety measures put visitors at ease.
”I’m going to put my family on it, I’m going to ride it this spring,” said Kinney. “I have no issue at all getting inside one and I’m very excited about the brand new vessel they have for us.”
Duck Boat Survivor Tia Coleman lost nine family members in 2018. Her attorney Andrew Duffy says the families would not be okay with bringing Duck Tours back to Table Rock Lake. The family, however, is okay with the change of location and increased safety of these boats.
”As long as this new duck boat company puts safety first and makes sure their people are adequately trained, can turn off the entertainment and turn on safety procedures immediately, then I don’t say this type of duck boat should not be allowed anywhere,” said Duffy.
Blumenthal says the tours will begin at the end of April or beginning of May.
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