If you like to take boats out on the water in Hawaii, you may know the familiar duck boats. These stretch boats have been used for years as tourist boats that take people around the waters on the islands.
You should know that many people have been hurt or killed in accidents involving these boats. That’s why the U.S. Coast Guard has now agreed that these boats should no longer have side curtains or canopies. This decision was made following a boating accident in Missouri, which took `17 lives.
Why remove canopies and curtains from duck boats? The concept is simple. With canopies and curtains, it’s harder for people to swim away from the boat if the boat begins to sink or if it capsizes. Removing those, as well as the associated framing, would make it easier for victims of crashes, overturns or other incidents to get off the boat quickly.
This has been an ongoing discussion nationally since the 1990s. While the latest deaths happened in 2018, it was in 1999 when 13 people were killed in Arkansas, partially due to the design flaws mentioned above.
While these incidents didn’t happen in Hawaii, a sudden storm or surge could do the same there. That’s why this new requirement applies throughout the United States.
If you’ve been involved in an accident on a boat like this, then you know how dangerous they can be. Even donning a life jacket could put you at risk since it could pin you to the canopy’s roof and make it hard to swim. If you can get out but are hurt, then you may be able to pursue a claim.