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Hawley calls for safety regulations on fifth anniversary of duck boat tragedy

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, is calling for federal regulations for DUKW amphibious vehicles, otherwise known as duck boats.

Five years ago Wednesday, 17 people died after a duck boat sank at Table Rock Lake near Branson during a severe storm. Fourteen people survived.

Sen. Hawley said he sent a letter to U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Linda Fagan on Tuesday, calling for new safety standards to be implemented as part of his Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act of 2020.

"This legislation aimed to prevent similar accidents in the future by requiring amphibious vehicles meet minimum buoyancy requirements, weather preparedness standards, and new canopy regulations," Hawley wrote. "It is critically important that we ensure the safety of all passengers and prevent future accidents.”

The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023, which was signed into law in December, included the legislation. Part of the act required Fagan to “initiate a rulemaking to establish additional safety standards for DUKW amphibious passenger vessels” within six months.

"It has now been over six months," Hawley wrote.

While Hawley noted there are some indications that work has begun on the new standards, he urged Fagan to complete and issue the guidance as soon as possible.

"It is critically important that we ensure the safety of all passengers and prevent future accidents," he said.

Hawley urged Fagan to have an update of the regulation and a timeline for issuing the rule by Aug. 1.

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