Ban the Duck Boats

I'm not a fan of "duck" boats. And when I see something like this, I get upset because there's no good reason for these things to be in use anymore:

Four international college students were killed after the charter bus they were in collided with a "duck tour" vehicle on a Seattle bridge Thursday, officials said. 

The crash involving a bus, the duck tour vehicle, and two passenger vehicles occurred at about 11:15 a.m. local time (2:15 ET) on the Aurora Bridge. 

Four were dead when firefighters arrived, and 51 were transported to area hospitals, Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said. Fifteen people were in critical condition Thursday evening, he said.

What a tragedy. My condolences go out to the families of the injured and the deceased. At some point, we need to look at the safety of these things. The DUKW boats have a track record. And I can tell you that this track record is probably as bad as any other kind of "tourist" vehicle. But, here's the thing--they've always been dangerous. That's because they were never intended for passengers. They were intended to deliver Marines onto a beach as part of an amphibious invasion force. The vehicle sits too high off the ground and is prone to flipping over.

How do I know this? Because I am a child of the 1970s. And in the 1970s, if you lived in Minnesota, you went to the Wisconsin Dells. And it must have been about 1978 or so, and we went and saw all of the attractions. We went in a camper and spent a few days there. Everything was expensive and everywhere you looked, you saw two things. One was Tommy Bartlett's Water Show or whatever and the other thing you saw were the DUKW boats that were going around showing people the scenery.

While we were there, one of those things turned over. I don't remember if anyone got seriously hurt, but we saw one that was on its side and people were rushing around. That's a pretty vivid memory for me. And when my mother saw that, she said there was no way in heck we were going to get on one of those things and that was that.

And, by the way, my mother is a Marine. And so if a Marine says those things are too dangerous to ride in, then they're too dangerous to ride in. Period. End of story.