NTSB: Failure to Implement Safety Recommendations Contributed to Branson Duck Boat Tragedy

In a scathing report, the National Transportation Safety Board said the U.S. Coast Guard’s refusing to adopt safety recommendations that dated back 20 years contributed to the tragedy on Table Rock Lake that left 17 people dead.

The incident involving Stretch Duck 7, which sank in a high-wind storm July 19, 2018, “could have been prevented” according to the head of the NTSB.

“Lives could have been saved,” NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt said in a statement.

The NTSB said that after a 1999 incident near Hot Springs, Arkansas with a duck boat where 19 people died, they issued 22 safety recommendations for duck boats. The Coast Guard implemented nine of those recommendations.

Several NTSB recommendations focused on “reserve buoyancy” that can keep a duck boat floating even when they flood.

Other recommendations focused on canopies and side curtains on duck boats that could trap passengers who otherwise would be able to escape a sinking vessel. The report from the NTSB notes that the side canopy on the starboard side of Stretch Duck 7 was closed when it was raised from under 85 feet of water on Table Rock Lake.

Read the NTSB report:


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