U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has introduced legislation to improve the safety of duck boats, following the tragedy on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., last summer that claimed 17 lives. Sen. Hawley’s legislation would authorize previously-outlined National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations, including commonsense provisions to require the use of life jackets and equipping all operating duck boats to be more buoyant in the case of emergency flooding.
Senator Hawley said, “Missouri still mourns the lives lost on Table Rock Lake last summer. Sadly though, this tragedy wasn’t the first of its kind. For decades now, the NTSB has been making recommendations to make these rides safer, but Congress has failed to act. It’s my goal to change that by introducing this legislation today. We have to protect safety on the water.”
The NTSB made their recommendations three years after a 1999 duck boat tragedy killed 13 in Arkansas. Sen. Hawley’s legislation goes a step further by barring duck boat operation in severe weather conditions. Once enacted, non-compliant duck boats would be prohibited from operating until they meet the necessary requirements outlined in the bill.