NewsLocal News


US Senate unanimously passes Josh Hawley's duck boat safety bill

Posted at 9:29 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 22:29:44-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a duck boat safety sponsored by two Missouri senators Thursday.

The legislation, which draws from decades-old recommendations made the National Transportation Safety Board, still must pass the U.S. House of Representatives before it could be signed into law by President Trump.

But Sen. Josh Hawley, who sponsored the bill along with fellow Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, cheered the passage Thursday on social media.

"Great news - the Senate just unanimously passed my duck boats bill to impose tough new security measures to help stop tragedies like the one on Table Rock Lake two years ago that took 17 lives," Hawley said via Twitter.

Hawley's bill, which he introduced in 2019, imposes stronger safety measures on duck boats in the wake of a July 2018 tragedy on Table Rock Lake that killed 17 people near Branson, Missouri.

The legislation would require the use of life jackets on duck boats and additional buoyancy for the vessels in case of emergency flooding.

The bill also would require duck boat proprietors to halt operations during severe weather.

41 Action News investigators previously reported the boat should have never been on the Table Rock Lake the day it sank in accordance with a mandate from the U.S. Coast Guard from a 2017 inspection barring duck boats from operating when winds exceed 35 mph.

At the time of the tragedy, there was a severe weather warning in effect and winds gusts exceeded 70 miles in July 2018. One of two duck boats on Table Rock Lake became swamped and sank.

Under the bill, non-compliant boats would not be allowed to operate until safety requirements were met.