Senators Blunt, Hawley reintroduce duck boat safety legislation

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 9:53 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley announced they have reintroduced legislation to improve the safety of duck boats following the 2018 tragedy on Table Rock Lake.

The new legislation authorizes previously-outlined National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, including commonsense provisions to require the use of lifejackets and equipping all operating duck boats to be more buoyant in the case of emergency flooding.

“Seventeen people lost their lives in the duck boat tragedy on Table Rock Lake,” said Senator Blunt. “These common-sense safety measures, which are long overdue and need to go into effect immediately, will help prevent an incident like this from ever happening again. I was disappointed the House didn’t act on this important legislation after it passed the Senate last Congress. I urge all of my colleagues to come together and support our efforts to improve safety and protect lives.”

In April, The National Transportation Safety Board released the findings of its investigation into the sinking of the Ride the Ducks vessel. The sinking killed 17 of the 31 people on board. The NTSB repeated criticism of the Coast Guard it, saying the agency had ignored its recommendations to improve the boats since a duck boat accident in Arkansas killed 13 people in 1999. The board said it has repeatedly urged the Coast Guard to require the boats be upgraded to stay afloat when flooded, and to remove barriers to escape, such as canopies.

“In 2018, 17 people lost their lives in a preventable tragedy on Table Rock Lake,” said Hawley. “The best way we can honor the lives lost there and those lost in the accidents that preceded it is to do our part in protecting safety on the water and passing this common-sense legislation. This bill passed the Senate unanimously last year, and I am committed to building on that progress and seeing it become law.”

The bill was passed unanimously by the full Senate and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in the 116th Congress.

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