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Congressman Carson Reintroduces Legislation to Improve Duck Boat Safety

May 29, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC-- Congressman André Carson (IN-07) has reintroduced legislation to improve duck boat safety. The Duck Boat Safety Act (H.R. 2799) directs the U.S Coast Guard to implement long-overdue recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to help make these vessels safer, more buoyant, and better equipped to withstand flooding or sinking. Congressman Carson first introduced this legislation in the last Congress (H.R. 7256).

“I am pleased to reintroduce the Duck Boat Safety Act, a common-sense piece of legislation that will finally require implementation of much-needed safeguards to make these boats safer,” Rep. Carson said. “While duck boats can offer fun, enjoyment and adventure for passengers, we have seen they can also be deadly. For the memory of all of who have been hurt or killed in tragic accidents on these boats, and for the safety of all who board them in the future, we have an obligation to make this bill law quickly.”

The NTSB made their recommendations in 2002 to improve the safety of duck boats in flooding and sinking situations, but they have not been fully implemented. Rep. Carson’s legislation would finally enact these much-needed changes and, until full compliance is met, would also incorporate interim safety measures. They include:

  1. Removing or replacing canopies from vessels for waterborne operations, with structures that do not restrict escape in the event of flooding or sinking;
  2. Require that all passengers wear a personal flotation device while the vessel is on the water;
  3. Require compliance with existing Coast Guard regulations related to the inspection, configuration, and operation of such vessels.

40 people have died in duck boat accidents since 1999. This includes 17 passengers who perished on a duck boat in Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri in July of 2018. Many of those on board were constituents of Congressman Carson’s, including members of the Coleman Family.

Tia Coleman, who lost nine of her family members in the accident, is a supporter of Rep. Carson’s legislation.

“While nothing can ever ease the constant grief in my heart, I am grateful that Congressman Carson is fighting for justice for my family, and the other victims, and is committed to making sure that duck boats are safe,” Coleman said. “No other family should ever have to deal with the horrors of losing their loved ones in such a horrific way.”

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.