Local duck boat company reacts to tragedy in Missouri

Posted at 2:15 PM, Jul 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-20 16:25:47-04

SAUGATUCK, Mich. – A local duck boat tour company is reacting to a tragic accident in Missouri where 17 people have died.

The Ride the Ducks Branson duck boat went down in Table Rock Lake near Branson during strong winds that “came out of nowhere,” said Jim Pattison Jr., president of the business’s parent company, Thursday night.  Fourteen people survived, with passengers and workers on the nearby Showboat Branson Belle — still docked as people boarded for a cruise — helping to rescue them, Stone County Sheriff Doug Rader said.

Harbor Duck Adventures, Co. in Saugatuck has been in operation for almost 19 years without incident, according to the company. They say they have passed annual inspections from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

They say that their operating procedures say that rides are suspended if lightning is detected in the area at any time or if thunderstorm warnings are posted for the area. They also try to recognize ahead of time when a warning may be posted and try to suspend rides before a warning is issued.

You can read their entire statement below:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved in the tragic accident in Branson Missouri.

Harbor Duck Adventures, Co., an independently owned and operated Michigan Corporation, will begin its 19th year of service this August. Since our beginning we have operated a safe vessel maintenance and operations program without incident. We have successfully passed inspections by the United States Coast Guard and Michigan Department of Transportation annually.

We know that there is no such thing as zero risk in the transportation business, but Harbor Duck Adventures Company makes safety our top concern. Our captains are licensed by the United States Coast Guard and hold valid Michigan CDL operators licenses. Our crews on land and water are trained to make all safety concerns, including weather, a top priority. All staff members are trained to understand special marine warnings and severe weather watches and warnings.

All Harbor Duck Adventure rides are immediately suspended if lightning is detected at any time, rides are also suspended when a thunderstorm warning is posted and remain suspended until the warning is cancelled. Our goal is to recognize that a warning may be posted and to have all activities suspend prior to a warning being issued.”