Duck History – Boston Duck Tours
  • Duck History Photos Duck History Photos Left: DUKW crossing a river in France during training exercises in March 1945. Right: DUKW parked at amphibious training Center at Camp Gordon Johnston. Images courtesy of the National Archive
  • Duck History Photos Duck History Photos Left: DUKW at Normandy on June 12, 1944. The 3 passengers standing in the front of the DUKW (from left to right) were George Marshall, Dwight D Eisenhower and Ernest J. King. Right: German Shell explodes in front of DUKW at Anzio beachhead. Images courtesy of the National Archive


Ours DUCKS and Duck History

Below: A Boston Duck Tours newly built amphibious vehicle next to an original WWII DUWK

Side by side DUCKS

Our Ducks are not WWII DUKW’s and are not the same as the Duck in the recent Table Rock Lake incident. Our fleet is what is known as a “Truck Duck” and is based off a much larger and stronger chassis. They are purpose-built for tourism by Chance Manufacturing in Kansas and are not a converted surplus vehicle. The hulls are all brand-new construction and were designed for much greater stability, much greater capacity and much greater safety. The hulls themselves are thicker gage than a WWII Duck and all the old corrosion and stress points have been eliminated. Our oldest Truck Duck was built in 2006 and the newest was built in 2014. Initially, they were manufactured in Missouri but by 2010 the work was transferred to Wichita, Kansas. They share no parts with a WWII DUKW and are a “Duck” in name only. We are inspected by the US Coast Guard every spring before our season begins and we meet or exceed their regulations. We are also inspected by the Department of Public Utilities (they are the bus inspectors in our state) every spring. We have an outside audit of our fleet done every year by Recreational Engineering Inc who specializes in OSHA regulations and amphibious vehicles.

During the early days of World War ll, the allies were faced with a tough tactical problem: how could they unload cargo and men from their ships in places where the dock facilities had been destroyed or simply did not exist? The answer was to unload cargo directly over the beach. But how?

The demands of war, along with technical know-how and old fashioned Yankee ingenuity combined to create the perfect solution: a vehicle that was half boat and half truck that could run on land and water. Code-named DUKW (see where we get the name?), the first "DUCK" was actually a GMC truck enclosed in a water-tight shell.

It wasn’t long before DUKWs were playing a crucial role in the allied invasions in Sicily, the Pacific, and the biggest invasion of all, D-Day. In fact, more than 40% of all over-beach supplies in Normandy were transported by DUKWs during the first four months. So today, we can thank those who were part of the DUKW project for helping to change the course of history.

Duck Timeline: From concept through creation

Boston Duck Tours’ Fleet of DUKWs

Boston Duck Tours has replaced our original DUKWs with WWII style amphibious vehicles that are easier to maintain and operate. Boston Duck Tours fleet now consists 28 authentic replica DUKWS (which locals affectionately refer to as Duck Boats) that hold 35 guests and are completely enclosed. We also have 1 original WWII DUKW left that we use for parades and special events only.  Please see the chart below to see what each of our DUCKs looks like.

Chart of all of Boston Duck Tours DUCKs

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