fb-pixel

How to make duck boats safer

Touring duck boats have been a part of Boston’s tourist streetscape for decades.
Touring duck boats have been a part of Boston’s tourist streetscape for decades.Globe file/2007

State lawmakers on Thursday approved a new set of safety regulations on duck boats, a measure that took shape after a fatal accident involving one of the sight-seeing vehicles in April.

The legislation would:

■  Require that the vehicles have safety equipment, including blind spot cameras and proximity sensors.

■  Ban individuals who are operating the large vehicles from also serving as tour narrators, a practice that has been common in the industry for many years.

■  Establish penalties of $500 for the first safety violation and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

Boston Duck Tours already had announced it would add a second staff member to its tours and said it had installed a camera on each vehicle and was installing proximity sensors at the front and rear of each duck boat.

Advertisement



A spokesman said Governor Charlie Baker looks forward to reviewing the final legislation.

Officials hope the new regulations would help prevent accidents involving the popular amphibious vehicles, a common sight on the area’s streets and waterways during the tourist season.

Allison Warmuth, 28, was killed when a duck boat ran over her motor scooter near her Beacon Hill home, raising concerns about the large vehicles’ blind spots.

Her parents, Ivan and Martha Warmuth, have backed the legislation. They said earlier this year that they believe the accident was a result of systemic flaws in the design, safety equipment, and operation of the vehicles.

Other cities have grappled with the safety of amphibious motor vehicles. Last fall, in Seattle, a duck boat collided with a bus, resulting in five deaths and dozens of injuries.


Material from State House News Service was used in this report.