Ride the Ducks

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Ride the Ducks
FoundedBranson, Missouri, 1977
(41 years ago)
FounderBob McDowell
Number of locations
ServicesDuck tours

Ride the Ducks is a national duck tour operator and eponymous tourist attraction in some United States locations such as Branson, Missouri; Stone Mountain Park, Georgia;[1] and the territory of Guam. It makes use of amphibious vehicles, nicknamed "ducks", to provide tours of cities by boat and by land.

Ride the Ducks was purchased by Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation in 2004.[2] Herschend sold a majority interest in the company to an independent investor in 2012.[1][3] The Branson operation was sold to Ripley Entertainment in December 2017.[4]


The company uses custom built amphibious vehicles based on the famous DUKW amphibious vehicle design from World War II known as "truck ducks", while some use an original DUKW chassis extended to fit them, known as "stretch ducks". The company also uses original DUKWs extended to hold more people, and as such are also "stretch ducks". All incorporate advances in marine design and safety.[5] Drivers are certified by the Coast Guard and hold commercial drivers' licences, and all vehicles are equipped with personal flotation devices.[6] The company has also manufactured vehicles for other duck tour operators.[7]


Ride the Ducks currently provides sightseeing tours in Branson, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; Stone Mountain Park, Georgia; and Guam.

Ride the Ducks also formerly operated in a number of additional locations across the United States:


The duck boats operated by Ride the Ducks have been involved in a number of incidents.

July 2010 accident[edit]

In July 2010, a Ride the Ducks vehicle stalled on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was struck by a barge, sinking the duck boat and killing two of the passengers, who were Hungarian tourists.[9] The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the tugboat operator's inattention to his duties.[11] The tugboat operator served a one-year sentence for “the maritime equivalent of involuntary manslaughter.”[9] Following the accident, Ride The Ducks ceased operations in Philadelphia.[12][9]

Sept 2015 accident[edit]

On Sept 24, 2015, a Ride the Ducks vehicle operated by an independent firm Ride the Ducks of Seattle broke an axle, crossed the center lane and crashed into a charter bus, killing 5 people on Seattle's Aurora Bridge. The vehicle had been purchased from the Missouri-based manufacturer, and had not undergone a recommended repair to the front axle. The Missouri firm paid a fine of US$ 1 million. [13]

July 2018 accident[edit]

On July 19, 2018, a Ride the Ducks vehicle capsized and sank while in Table Rock Lake near Branson, Missouri, during high winds from nearby thunderstorms. 31 individuals were onboard, and 17 fatalities were confirmed.[14] The day following the accident, Ride the Ducks announced that the Branson operation would be "closed for business" pending an investigation and out of respect for the victims' families.[15] The boat involved was an original from World War II having been built in 1944.


  1. ^ a b "About us". Ride the Ducks. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Ride the Ducks | About Us". ridetheducks.com. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  3. ^ "Herschend Family Entertainment Sold a Majority Interest in Ride the Ducks > Genesis Capital". www.genesis-capital.com. Genesis Capital. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  4. ^ Entertainment, Ripley. "Ripley Entertainment Acquires Ride the Ducks in Branson, Missouri". www.ripleyentertainment.com. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
  5. ^ http://www.ridetheducks.com/about/equipment.asp Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Phillips, Bianca. "Splashdown | We Recommend". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  7. ^ "About Ride the Ducks".[dead link]
  8. ^ Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas (July 20, 2018). "Missouri duck boat attraction closed Baltimore branch in 2009 amid worker safety concerns, unionization push". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d Nails, Katherine (July 20, 2018). "The fatal history of Philly's duck boats". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Rubenstein, Steve (September 9, 2015). "Ride the Ducks line waddles out of business in S.F." SFGate. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  11. ^ Hoye, Sarah (May 10, 2012). "Families of Philadelphia 'duck boat' victims get $15M settlement". CNN. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Krewson, Chris (October 5, 2016). "Philadelphia's 'Ride the Ducks' tour boats have abruptly shut down". Billy Penn. Philadelphia. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "Maker of Ride the Ducks vehicle in Seattle crash to pay up to $1 million". Lewis Kamb. December 6, 2016.
  14. ^ "Branson duck boat tragedy: 17 dead, including 9 from one family". Springfield News-Leader. July 20, 2018. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "bransonducks - Ride The Ducks Branson". Ride The Ducks Branson. Ripley Entertainment. Retrieved July 21, 2018.

External links[edit]