Scaled-back Duck Boat plan for Delaware River

The Duck Boats are trying to get back onto the Delaware River in Philadelphia, with an amended route and new safety measures.

Last week the city rejected a plan to move the amphibious vehicles to the Schuylkill River.

In the new plan, the Duck Boats would be on the Delaware River for 15 minutes instead of 20–and stick closer to shore.

Ride the Ducks Vice President Bob Salmon said the plan also calls for a response boat to be ready whenever a Duck tour hits the water.

“In case we needed to tow one of our vehicles, which happens very very seldom on our tours–maybe two, three times a year,” said Salmon. “In the past we’d contact our Operations Department which would send in another Duck in order to tow the disabled vehicle out of the water but now we have this response boat.”

Salmon said the plan was approved by the Coast Guard months ago and is now in the city’s hands.

Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary said the Mayor has outstanding safety concerns and the city is working with the company and the Coast Guard to address them.

Two tourists died last summer after a stalled Duck Boat was hit by a barge on the Delaware.  Lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi represents their families. He doesn’t think the plan does enough.

“That would be akin to operating a bus and then having another empty bus behind you, because your buses are so prone to break down and get into accidents,” Mongeluzzi said.

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