A bipartisan bill calling for the improved safety of duck boats passed through the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday. The bill is sponsored by Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, and it is now ready to be considered by the full Senate.
Ever since a duck boat accident in Arkansas killed 13 passengers in 1999, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been urging the Coast Guard to mandate that duck boats be made extra buoyant so they can stay afloat while flooded. They have also called for barriers to escape, such as canopies, to be removed. These safety measures were not enforced, however, and in 2018, 17 more people were killed when the Ride the Ducks vessel sank in Missouri.
The Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act would authorize the NSTB’s safety recommendations, requiring passengers to wear life jackets and upgrading all boats to be more buoyant. You can read more about the legislation here.