The US Coast Guard issued a bulletin recommending that vessel owners and operators of DUKW passenger vessels remove canopies, side curtains, and associated overhead framing to improve emergency egress for passengers and crew.
Specifically, the USCG is referring to an incident that took place on July 19, 2018, concerning the DUKW-type amphibious passenger vessel Stretch Duck 7. The vessel sank, having passengers onboard on a Missouri lake, due to a storm.
Following the investigation of the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) leading the investigation, reissued safety recommendations regarding the removal of canopies on DUKW vessels that lack sufficient reserve buoyancy to stay afloat when flooded.
In addition, the preliminary findings of the Coast Guard’s Stretch Duck 7 MBI are in line with NTSB’s recommendation to remove DUKW canopies in order to ensure emergency egress is not impeded.
Consequently, owners and operators that are to remove canopies shall work with their local Coast Guard Officer in Charge of Marine Inspection (OCMI) and the Marine Safety Center to arrange an inspection and stability review prior to recommencing operations.
The USCG highlights that
All vessel operators are reminded that they should always follow the requirements listed on the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection (COI), paying particular attention to wind and wave restrictions to ensure they will not be exceeded for the duration of each voyage.