Miami Beach Duck Tours assures passengers of safety after Missouri tragedy

Captain says they constantly check radar; regularly take part in safety drills

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Those aboard a Duck Tours boat in Miami Beach were doing their best Friday to have a good time, despite the tragedy in Missouri on their minds.

"I'm scared to take this," Elise Hanson, from Norway, said. "I'm afraid to die." 

"We were definitely scared at the beginning and feel horrible for what happened over there, but I think the circumstances here are different and we will be fine," another passenger, Dania Leal, said. 

Despite seeing video of the capsizing boat in Missouri and knowing 17 were killed in Thursday's incident, no one canceled their Miami Beach excursion Friday.

Duck Tours' Captain Sharky told Local 10 News that they sometimes cancel tours because of weather.

"It's the captain's decision on whether or not we are going on the water," Sharky said. "I have five different radar apps on my phone. Before we head out, we are constantly checking everything."

Sharky is the driver on land and the captain on the water. He said the water tour part is often canceled due to weather.

"The owners have made it a big deal with us, especially here in Miami since we have constant storms all the time," he said. "Between myself and the other captains, we are constantly on the radar. If there is lightening within 3 miles we don't go in the water."

Sharky said there was a U.S. Coast Guard inspection of the vessels Thursday. 

Duck Tours offers a 90-minute tour of Miami Beach. The water part includes tours of Hibiscus and Palm Islands, as well as the Freedom Monument.

"We go over all of our safety precautions every three months. We do drills," Sharky said. "These are the newer-type of vessels. They are made for tourism."

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.