New Branson Duck Tours company plans to open at Table Rock Lake this spring

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BRANSON, Mo. — A new company says it plans to bring duck boat tours back to Branson and Table Rock Lake, where 17 people drowned when one sank in 2018.

The owners of Branson Duck Tours LLC said they hope to begin the tours late this spring.

This time, however, the company says their boats will not resemble the World War II-era amphibious duck boats used when the boat sank in Table Rock Lake during a storm. Instead, the company plans to use Hydra-Terra amphibious vessels they said have been deemed “unsinkable.”

The duck boat tours were a longtime popular attraction in the tourist town but had not returned to the lake since the tragedy.

In a Facebook statement released Thursday, the company said,

“We were heart broken by the tragedy in 2017, where questionable equipment and procedures cost the lives of 17 people. We were also disappointed that we would no longer be able to experience Branson on a unique duck tour. Duck tours have been a wonderful experience for tourists and a staple of Branson for decades.

“After the tragedy, we no longer felt safe taking our families on DUWKs designed for war and built-in 1946. The amazing Hydra-Terra was the safe solution we were looking for. It is the only state-of-the-art amphibious tour bus specifically designed and built for safe duck tours. The Hydra-Terra has been a proven performer with successful operations in 27 countries around the world. The Hydra-Terra is the only Coast Guard approved “T” Vessel with revolutionary, positive-buoyancy foam-filled compartments.

“The design has proven to be UNSINKABLE by the US Coast Guard. During Coast Guard testing, the drain plugs were removed from a Hydra-Terra and the engine room was fully flooded. The Hydra-Terra continued to float safely without any water entering the passenger compartment!

With this revolutionary equipment and new safety procedures, Branson Duck Tours is excited to announce we will begin offering safe duck tours in the Spring of 2021.”

But as of Friday, the city hasn’t received a business license application from the new company, which has not contacted any city departments, spokeswoman Melody Pettit said.

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