Unfortunately, sometimes even common-sense legislation takes time.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley are reintroducing legislation to improve the safety of duck boats after 17 people tragically lost their lives in one such boat in 2018 at Table Rock Lake.
According to the senators, the legislation would authorize previously-outlined National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, including commonsense provisions to require the use of life jackets and equipping all operating duck boats to be more buoyant in the case of emergency flooding.
The bill also would require duck boat operators to check conditions with the National Weather Service, the Kansas City Star reported.
We join Blunt in his disappointment that, despite unanimous Senate passage, the House didn't act on the legislation during the past session.
After the incident, we pointed to warning signs that should have been heeded, including design flaws in the boat and boat operators' suggestion to passengers that they wouldn't need to use life preservers.
This wasn't the first duck boat tragedy. About 20 years ago, 13 people died when a duck boat called Miss Majestic sank in Arkansas. USA Today reported after that disaster, the National Transportation Safety Board investigated and issued a report that recommended making the boats more buoyant, among other things. Those recommendations apparently were not heeded, and the NTSB even called the industry's response to the recommendations disappointing.
It's one thing to see a tragedy in which senseless deaths occur. It's another to not learn from the mistake, and take action to prevent it from occurring again.
We urge the U.S. Congress to pass these sensible regulations to ensure a level of safety for the passengers of these World War II-era boats that are now used for lake tours.