Missouri Duck Boat Tragedy Highlights Years of Safety Concerns
Our hearts go out to the victims of the recent tragedy in Missouri, where 17 people lost their lives when a duck boat capsized in Lake of the Ozarks in July 2018. For years, these aquatic rides have been good clean family fun for thousands of tourists, but they’ve also had their share of tragedies. Our office is here to help those injured in maritime accidents and cruise ship industries. Aquatic accidents and injuries are usually quite different from typical accidents in a number of ways.
For those who have read the recent reports on duck boats, here are some things to keep in mind about these types of rides.
What are Duck Boats?
From Stone Mountain, GA to Seattle, WA., duck boat tours allow passengers to load onto a bus-like vehicle that is shaped sort of like a boat. Fashioned after the WWII amphibious vehicle known as a DUKW (or “DUCK”), it has axles, a steering wheel, and a fully functioning internal combustion engine, like any land vehicle. But duck boats are also outfitted with a boat propeller. These vehicles are designed to go from land directly into water and become a boat. On these rides, passengers often receive goofy duck call devices and are entertained by enthusiastic hosts who provide a tour.
Are Duck Boats Safe?
It depends on the definition of safe. For the most part, thousands of people ride on duck boats every year all over the country without incident. However, there have been considerable safety concerns over the years. Reports detail a host of safety concerns going back as far as 1999. These vehicles are high off the ground and have narrow wheel bases which cause them to have significant “blind” spots and a high center of gravity which makes them a potential tipping hazard. As a boat, thehy have a narrow “beam” and low freeboard, which creates a rolling and swamping hazard. Accidents have ranged from sinking to pedestrian and motorcycle crashes. No other vehicle can claim such a wide range of victims. To some extent, this may be because duck boats are neither land vehicles or boats.
Understanding Maritime Injuries
Not all injury cases are the same. When a person is seriously injured, one of the first questions a personal injury lawyer must determine is whether there was negligence involved. With car accidents and other more common injuries, negligence is often as straightforward as figuring out who had the right-of-way. When maritime vessels are involved, the attorney needs to be well-versed on the navigation systems, federal and state regulations that apply to the operation of the vessel and its crew, as well as a host of federal and state laws that may offer appropriate relief.
If you’ve been injured in a boat accident in Florida, call Michael F. Guilford, P.A. today. We never ask our clients to pay large upfront retainers, because we don’t take a fee unless we recover money for your injuries. In fact, you can call anytime and speak with us about your case free of charge.