Branson duck boat accident?
On July 19, 2018, a duck boat sank on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, resulting in 17 fatalities. The accident brought to light the safety issues associated with duck boats, and questions about what caused the accident were raised. This article examines the causes of the Branson duck boat accident and what measures could have been taken to prevent it.

Background of Duck Boats

Duck boats are amphibious vehicles that can operate on land and water. They were originally designed for military use in World War II but have since become popular tourist attractions in many cities. The boats are known for their distinctive appearance and can carry up to 30 passengers.

Causes of the Branson Duck Boat Accident

Weather Conditions
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the Branson duck boat accident was caused by severe weather conditions. A severe thunderstorm with high winds and waves caused the boat to capsize and sink. The NTSB determined that the boat captain did not follow the company’s severe weather policies, which required boats to return to shore when the National Weather Service issues a severe thunderstorm warning.

Design Flaws
The design of duck boats has been criticized for its safety issues. The canopies that cover the passengers can trap them inside if the boat capsizes, making it difficult to escape. The NTSB has recommended that the canopies be removed and that the boats be redesigned to improve their stability.

Lack of Regulations
There are currently no federal regulations that govern the operation of duck boats. The NTSB has recommended that the US Coast Guard develop safety standards for duck boats and that the National Park Service improve its safety protocols for duck boat operators.

Preventing Future Accidents

Improved Weather Monitoring
Operators of duck boats should have access to up-to-date weather information, and companies should have policies in place to ensure that boats are not on the water during severe weather conditions.

Removal of Canopies
The removal of canopies would allow passengers to easily escape in the event of an accident. The NTSB recommends that duck boats be redesigned to improve their stability and to make them safer in the event of an accident.

Federal Regulations
The US Coast Guard should develop safety standards for duck boats, including requirements for stability and the removal of canopies. The National Park Service should also improve its safety protocols for duck boat operators and require compliance with federal safety standards.


The Branson duck boat accident was a tragic event that could have been prevented with improved safety measures. The weather conditions that caused the accident were beyond the control of the operator, but the lack of regulations and the design flaws of the boats played a significant role. Removing canopies and implementing federal safety standards would go a long way in preventing future accidents and ensuring the safety of passengers on these popular tourist attractions.


National Transportation Safety Board. (2019). Marine Accident Brief: Capsizing and Sinking of Amphibious Passenger Vessel Stretch Duck 7. NTSB/MAB-19/24.

Halsey, A. (2018, July 23). Duck boats were flagged for safety problems before Missouri accident that killed 17 people. The Washington Post.

Associated Press. (2020, July 30). After Missouri boat accident, duck boat safety is still a concern. NBC News.

Published by
Write essays
View all posts