London's yellow amphibious duck buses get £250,000 makeover with River Thames return to come

The tourist favourites began life landing troops on D-Day

  • 15:29, 13 JUL 2021
  • Updated 15:39, 13 JUL 2021

do london duck tours still exist

The 12 - our free newsletter with all the news you need

We have more newsletters

Most of us will count a trip down the Thames or stroll along the South Bank as a staple of a good day out in London .

The view from Westminster Bridge, the atmosphere around Waterloo Bridge, it's the place where historic sights and modern art all blends in to one. But true Londoners will know there's something missing.

Something big and yellow, with wheels and a hull - a London's duck buses.

READ MORE: 'I went on the London bus that only makes 2 journeys a week and it's the only route where everyone is happy'

They're the amphibious vehicles once used for tours of the city which go both on road and water.

Though they're currently having a little rest, we could expect a return soon according to their owners, the tour company London Duck Tours.

Unfortunately right now, you won't find the duck buses in their habitual home, the River Thames.

"We have 10 amphibious vehicles and they're all tucked up," says John Bigos, the owner and managing director of London Duck Tours.

"He explains that it was not Covid-19 or the economic slowdown which has forced his company to suspend their current tour route, but a sewer.

The duck buses use a ramp near Vauxhall to safely descend from the road into the River Thames. It's the safest place for this unusual operation which requires the bus-like vehicle to transform itself into the boat we're used to seeing glide along the river.

A sewer called the Thames Tideway Tunnel is being built underneath the ramp so the authorities have acquired the ramp to continue works, which blocks the route for the tours.

John said: "Safety is our absolute priority. The ducks have been totally and completely rebuilt. In effect, it's a brand new vessel, we've spent £250,000 per vehicle.

Get London's biggest stories straight in your inbox

do london duck tours still exist

Do you want to stay up to date with the latest news, views, features and opinion from across the city?

MyLondon's brilliant newsletter The 12 is absolutely jam packed with all the latest to keep you keep you entertained, informed and uplifted.

You'll get 12 stories straight to your inbox at around 12pm. It’s the perfect lunchtime read.

And what's more - it's FREE!

The MyLondon team tells London stories for Londoners. Our journalists cover all the news you need - from City Hall to your local streets, so you'll never miss a moment.

Don't skip a beat and sign up to The 12 newsletter here .

"Two of them are now in Portugal, where we've been conducting sea trials." Some of his team are looking to set up duck tours in Porto so while London is on hiatus, John has been providing them with his help and expertise.

"Part of that exercise means we have been awarded a €220,000 grant by the European Union, said John.

"That was in 2019, after Brexit. We could potentially see Porto Duck Tours in 2021."

Get all the latest news delivered to your inbox for free with My London's brilliant newsletters here.

The remaining eight duck buses, named after Shakespearean ladies, are currently in storage just off the M25.

Alistair Bigos, John's son and commercial director of London Duck Tours, described his work planning the return of duck bus tours to London:

He said: "The tour concepts will still stay the same. The core route which takes in Royal, Historic Central London will still exist. We're chatting with a few different partners about the possibility of augmented reality too."

do london duck tours still exist

Augmented reality is a long way from the beginnings of these incredible vehicles.

Alistair said: "They fought in the Second World War. They would drive onto the beaches to support the rapid landings at Normandy.

"They were a real, vital cog in the operations for D-Day."

The vehicles were originally military-classified and helped the Allies storm through thick mud, sand and water quickly before crossing land.

The vehicles, technically named DUKWs, were deployed from battleships in the English Channel and would drive through the water up the banks and provide back-up to the troops.

They were especially effective where there was no port. Their current role is worlds away.

In recent years, in addition to duck tours, they've starred in The Nativity 2 and were taken over by Minions in a promo for Despicable Me.

"They also served in the Korean War in the Battle of Incheon," John added.

do london duck tours still exist

The unusual nature of these vehicles mean there are additional operating challenges the company has to consider.

A bit like the current rules on e-scooters , there is no specific law for duck buses meaning they have to follow certain rules as if they were buses or boats even though mechanically they are neither.

Alistair said: "For a bus you would need your bus driver to be low and close to the road so they can see any last minute obstructions but on the water you need to be high up or you will be off-balance and splashed by waves."

The meticulous design means the vehicles, some of which date from the 1940s were well ahead of their time. "It's like an amphibious Ferrari," Alistair adds.

John explains how the rigid regulatory framework can lead to some bizarre situations. "There's no code in the system for a duck when you go for an MOT," he said.

"We've had to go to Swansea to speak with the DVLA and they provided us with an 18 point mathematical formula which allows the ducks' MOTs to follow the legal parameters."

He remains optimistic that the duck buses will continue to operate: "The regulators have been practical and pragmatic to be fair to them."

John and Alistair have a unique challenge trying to comply with Transport for London (TfL), Port of London Authority (PLA), Department for Transport (DfT) regulations as well as usual business laws.

When the tours start again, for example, he will have to negotiate with TfL which bus stops can be used again. In 2019, he submitted evidence to a parliamentary review on the matter .

"We are heavily regulated yet if your vehicle has fewer than 12 seats on the water, there's almost no regulations," he points out.

do london duck tours still exist

The company should get access back to its ramp to resume full operations at some point next year, September 2022 is the current working date.

In the meantime, you can still hire a duck bus privately and it will drive you around London, just not along the Thames. They are also continuing the trials in Portugal.

"It's something really unique in the capital," said Alistair.

"Of course, we want the support of Londoners, we know they [the duck buses] inspire people.

"We know they're popular and we know that London, the Home Counties and particularly school trips are significant markets."

Even before Covid, he explains there was a growing trend of people from outer London and the Home Counties who just wanted to spend time having fun, unique experiences in the capital, like a duck bus tour.

Almost two million people had taken a duck bus tour prior to the hiatus starting in 2017. The duck bus, much like the cable car, has great social media potential.

Join the Mind The Gap group

do london duck tours still exist

We've created a Facebook group for people who travel on London's bus, rail, Underground, Overground and DLR services.

We will keep you informed about the latest news that affects your daily commute to work, as well as at the weekend.

We'll also let you know in advance if there are any roadworks, railworks or closures you should know about, or if there are any problems on the city's tube network.

Join the group here .

Alistair said: "Second World War veterans love to go on the ducks due to the historical connection. That's why when we do restart operations we want to make the ducks as accessible as possible and will stick to any remaining Covid regulations."

The exact details of the tour revival are being hammered out now in this family-run business.

"Christmas is like a board meeting. We know it's gonna take time and we'll see where we get to," Alistair said.

"It's a niche skill to run such a unique operation so it's really a team approach. There's a lot of pride though."

Do you miss the duck buses? Want to see them back soon? Let us know in the comments below.

Got a quirky transport story MyLondon should know about? Email [email protected]

  • River Thames
  • Westminster
  • Transport for London
  • Most Recent

do london duck tours still exist

News | London

London Duck Tours to stop running after company loses Thames access point

do london duck tours still exist

The iconic yellow London Duck Tours will disappear from the Thames next month after losing their access point to the river.

A slipway on the Albert Embankment at Vauxhall used by the amphibious tourist vehicles – which are half-boat and half-truck – has been reclaimed by Thames Water to make way for a part of a £4.2 billion Super Sewer scheme, due to finish in 2024.

The company could not find an alternative central London docking site and will run their final tours on 17th September.

Managing Director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos said: “The 18th September will be a very sad day for the company, which was going from strength to strength, but it was vital not to delay construction of this much needed infrastructure project.

do london duck tours still exist

“Tourists worldwide and Londoners will surely miss our iconic bright yellow DUKWs travelling around town. They have become a landmark in their own right.”

Nearly two million passengers have boarded the unusual vehicles, invented during World War Two, since the company was founded in 2002.

The Thames Super Sewer is part of works designed to stop 39 million tonnes of raw sewage spilling from London’s Victorian sewers into the Thames every year.

The project will eventually employ thousands at 24 sites stretching from Greenwich in the east to Hammersmith in the west.

It is not clear whether the London Duck Tours will look for a new slipway in the future.

Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex to take part in Diana Legacy Award

Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex to take part in Diana Legacy Award

Sir James MacMillan ‘delighted and proud’ to become Ivors fellow

Sir James MacMillan ‘delighted and proud’ to become Ivors fellow

Alstom plans new train services between London and Wrexham

Alstom plans new train services between London and Wrexham

Celebrate Art of London’s collaborations with women artists

Celebrate Art of London’s collaborations with women artists

TUI Discount Code

Awesome, you're subscribed!

Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!

The best of London for free.

Sign up for our email to enjoy London without spending a thing (as well as some options when you’re feeling flush).

Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions.

Love the mag?

Our newsletter hand-delivers the best bits to your inbox. Sign up to unlock our digital magazines and also receive the latest news, events, offers and partner promotions.

  • Things to Do
  • Food & Drink
  • Coca-Cola Foodmarks
  • Attractions
  • Los Angeles

Get us in your inbox

🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

London Duck Tours

  • Things to do, Walks and tours

Time Out says

An email you’ll actually love

Discover Time Out original video

  • Press office
  • Investor relations
  • Work for Time Out
  • Editorial guidelines
  • Privacy notice
  • Do not sell my information
  • Cookie policy
  • Accessibility statement
  • Terms of use
  • Modern slavery statement
  • Manage cookies
  • Claim your listing
  • Time Out Offers FAQ
  • Advertising
  • Time Out Market

Time Out products

  • Time Out Offers
  • Time Out Worldwide

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get news and exclusives right in your inbox!

SEARCH THE BLOG

Input your search keywords and press Enter.

the Curious Pixie

Escape the Everyday

Category: UK

Search by keyword.

do london duck tours still exist

Unmissable Things to Do in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

do london duck tours still exist

15+ Things to Do in London This Summer | Top Activities in 2024 

do london duck tours still exist

9 Best Things to Do in Shoreditch | Cool Places & Fun Activities 

do london duck tours still exist

Best Things to Do in Greenwich, London in 2024

do london duck tours still exist

The Newt in Somerset: Hotel Review

Bellerby Globes

Tourist in London With Original Travel

do london duck tours still exist

Things to do in Edinburgh for Families

do london duck tours still exist

Weekend Guide to Canterbury | Pubs, Cathedral & Gardens

About Me

I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

Let’s be social

Get news and exclusives straight in your inbox!

2024 ADVENTURES

Search the blog, awards & ranking.

' width=

Click to subscribe

London Duck Tours

do london duck tours still exist

  • See all photos

do london duck tours still exist

Similar Experiences

do london duck tours still exist

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Mary O

LONDON DUCK TOURS - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

London Duck Tours

do london duck tours still exist

  • See all photos

do london duck tours still exist

Similar Experiences

do london duck tours still exist

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Sallprice

London Duck Tours - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

Logo

A Brief History of Ducks

There are few vehicles in history that have been as successful or enduring as the DUKW, or as we at London Duck Tours affectionately call them, “Ducks”.

The DUKW was the product of two very impressive parents, the General Motors Corporation (GMC – who provided the automotive components) and the celebrated New York City yacht designers Sparkman & Stephens who gave the new vehicle its sea-going capabilities.

During the early days of World War II, 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, simply did not exist, or to coastlines that were heavily guarded? The answer was to unload cargo directly onto the beach. The question was; how to achieve this objective? An amphibious vehicle that was half boat and half truck that could run on land and water was invented; a DUKW.

The code-name DUKW can be broken down into its four constituent letters:

D = First year of production code “D” is for 1942 U = Body style “U” utility truck (amphibious) K = Front wheel drive W = Two rear driving wheels (tandem axle)

It wasn’t long before the Ducks 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 the Ducks during the first four months. The Ducks played a vital role in World War II and were originally used to carry supplies from ships to points on land, negating the need for loading and unloading of smaller boats which saved time and countless lives.

After the Second World War the allies kept a reduced number of DUKWs in service.  When the conflict in Korea (1950 – 1954) began, the U.S. DUKW came to the fore again.

In Britain, DUKWs were used in active military service until 1966 and the Royal Marines used them as military training vehicles until 2012.

do london duck tours still exist

Private Hire

On Hold. Update Coming 2024

Classic Sightseeing Tour

Sit back and let us show you a selection of central London’s best loved sights

City of London Tour

The ancient city, packed with world renowned landmarks.

D-Day Duck Tour

A road-only tour to whisk you back to the blitz and tell the story of the Normandy beach landings

Pirate Treasure Hunt Tour

Solve the pirate-themed puzzles in order to snatch the treasure from under your opponent’s noses!

James Bond Tour

Simply Bond, Fleming and spies. Nobody does it better!

Code Breaker Challenge

Work as team to crack the secret code and stop London’s Tourist Attractions from being stolen!

A Quackmas Carol

A festive Charles Dickens themed tour for all the family. The perfect Christmas land and river adventure.

big ben london city tours

Update Coming 2024

Please note that we are no longer able to operate our usual range of sightseeing tours due to Thames Water’s compulsory purchase of our slipway to build the next phase of the Thames Tunnel super sewer.

do london duck tours still exist

London Duck Tours

Photo of London Duck Tours - London, XGL, GB. Beatrice and the London Eye

Review Highlights

london-duck-tours-london photo LQmTbMfb6Un2XbS_37L4ZA

“ The tour start near to the London Eye , the vehicles, are really funny: They were used in the second World Wide and are amphibious! ” in 7 reviews

Qype User (kristi…)

“ . Around Buckingham Palace and back through Westminster and along Millbank, we pootled over Vauxhall Bridg e taking in the MIs 5 and 6 ” in 2 reviews

Reviews T.

“ Our ride was fun and informative as we passed all the major points of interest like Buckingham, Parliament, MI5 and MI6 . ” in 3 reviews

Location & Hours

Suggest an edit

Map

55 York Road

London SE1 7NJ

United Kingdom

Waterloo, Southwark

About the Business

Amphibious Sightseeing Tours / Team Building Tours / Corporate Hire / Private Hire / Tailor Made Tours / Themed Tours …

Recommended Reviews

Photo of Username

  • 1 star rating Not good
  • 2 star rating Could’ve been better
  • 3 star rating OK
  • 4 star rating Good
  • 5 star rating Great

Select your rating

Overall rating

Photo of Reviews T.

We had a blast on the Ducks but when you're on something so fun how could you not? Our experience with the staff from start to finish was absolutely top-notch! Our ride was fun and informative as we passed all the major points of interest like Buckingham, Parliament, MI5 and MI6. I absolutely recommend making the Ducks a must-do part of your trip to London!

Photo of Eric S.

Excellent. Great tour of the city. Had an extremely great time! Sooooooo much better than the hop on off bus tour. Had a great time!!!

Selfie!!

The other boat...

Photo of Farin B.

I would defiantly recommend this tour The only issue was our duck tour vehicle broke down during the tour but the guide still handled the situation very well and they brought a mechanic and once he couldn't fix the issue another duck vehicle came and picked us up for the remainder of the tour It's a great experience

Photo of Daniel J.

I didn't believe it for a second. No way could a duck support me on a tour of London. They are not known for their strong backs. The notion that I would be getting shown around by, or transported by an actual duck were soon put to rest when I saw that we would be getting shown around in an odd looking little yellow bus thing. Imagine my surprise when after driving around for a short while the driver decided to drive straight into the Thames River. Luckily, the odd little yellow bus thing actually turns into a boat, of sorts. The reason this tour is so popular, I'd imagine, is because of exactly that; it's a road vehicle that can turn into a boat. That novelty alone would compel almost anyone to shell out £19. If you're a tourist; then why not. If you're going to do the bus tours, why not get on a weird yellow thing that also turns into a boat. But if you're a local - then think twice. Because it wasn't long into this tour that I realised I had just done what I promised myself I would never do; get an atypical tourist ride around London. The novelty of being on the water wears off in about nine seconds. Especially when you have a really annoying know-it-all tour guide. And as the dude hogging the microphone with his really weird moustache tells you "and this is Westminster..." you can't help but feel you would have been better off at home. It's not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with this tour, or my disgust that historic World War 2 boats have been turned into yellow tourist fodder - but simply, it just isn't really all that good or worthy of your money. Which brings me to my final point - which is certainly interesting. It turns out that these little yellow boat things are actually converted vehicles from the 1940's that were used during World War 2. In fact, it's entirely possible that this yellow thing that is showing you around London was a part of the D-Day invasions on Normandy. As someone who World War 2 is very important to; I would much rather see these in museums in their original state than painted yellow and showing tourists around; but that's just personal opinion.

do london duck tours still exist

Great fun and an interesting way to see the city. Our guide was really funny and gave lots of funny and insightful information about London. It was great to take a trip down the Thames as you really do get a different perspective on the Palaces of Westminster and London. I would like the tour to be a little longer but to be honest it's much better than a double decker bus.

do london duck tours still exist

I was lucky enough to go on a qype event to try this out and i am so glad to have been picked, I had a great time. I learnt some new info about london and saw buildings i hadnt noticed before, despite born n grown in london i have never been on a tourist tour so this was very iformative for me and i would definetly recommend this as you spend 45 mins on land and 30 mins in the thames. Yes this is a bus boat from the 1940s. The commentary is in english so could be a problem for non english speaking tourists.

do london duck tours still exist

I went on this tour with my family as a teen, close to ten years ago now. At the time, I wasn't one for tours, museums and culture, but I enjoyed the London Duck Tours back then, even as an in-door stubborn teen. I remember there were interesting facts that were informative and highlighted history and landmarks. As the bus went into the Thames, I was quiet surprised by how high the water level was and we were concerned that a single tilt would have caused the bus to flood... this was not the case. Overall I had a fairly entertaining and enlightening time. For a good ride and a bit of London history, it's worth recommending when the weather is nice.

Photo of Meena L.

I learnt some new info about london and saw buildings i hadnt noticed before, despite born n grown in london i have never been on a tourist tour so this was very iformative for me and i would definetly recommend this as you spend 45 mins on land and 30 mins in the thames. Yes this is a bus boat from the 1940s. The commentary is in english so could be a problem for non english speaking tourists. my sons absolutely loved this trip as they are rather quirky modes of transport and a novel way for them to learn history, look out for any deals

Photo of Lydia B.

A unique way of having a tour around the big smoke. This yellow vehicle chauffeurs you around the streets, whilst you take in the sights and smells of London learning lots of facts along the way. The tour then takes a new turn with the amphibian vehicle plunging into the River Thames where the tour continues. Booking in advance on their website is advisable, as you can rarely rock up on the day and get on. A fun few hours for the whole family.

Photo of Karen G.

My boyfriend and I took the duck tour in late August on the first full day of our UK vacation. It was my first time in the city. My boyfriend is from England and spent many years working in London, but had never done the Duck tours. Nathan was our guide and Steve was our driver. They were both excellent. We sat up front ( tip- arrive early, as the seats are first come/first serve based on arrival) and both Nathan and Steve were very chatty with us. When the duck was on the Thames, Nathan walked around the boat and greeted all of the passengers, answering questions and taking pictures. The tour was extremely informative, with loads of facts, History and quirky stories. We learned a lot and got a great overview of many of the major tourist sites. I'm glad to have done this early in our vacation, as I felt it gave me a good idea as to the layout of the city and helped me plan the things that I wanted to see later on. One big negative was the driver for the Thames portion of the trip. Steve switched out with a guy who was certified to take the duck on the water. This driver was miserable. He didn't say a word to any of us, never smiled.. it brought down the tone of the outing and made the portion on the Thames, a lot less fun. We were happy to get off the water and have Steve back! The vehicles are super cute and it's a fun tour. It was well worth our time and money.

5 other reviews that are not currently recommended

Collections Including London Duck Tours

London

By Saskia N.

People Also Viewed

Sandemans New London Tours on Yelp

Sandemans New London Tours

London Walks on Yelp

London Walks

The English Bus on Yelp

The English Bus

Evan Evans Tours on Yelp

Evan Evans Tours

Thames RIB Experience on Yelp

Thames RIB Experience

Thames River Sightseeing on Yelp

Thames River Sightseeing

Free Tours by Foot - London Tours on Yelp

Free Tours by Foot - London Tours

Jason’s Trip on Yelp

Jason’s Trip

Thames Clippers on Yelp

Thames Clippers

Day Tours London on Yelp

Day Tours London

Mines Near Me

Tours Near Me

Other Tours Nearby

Find more Tours near London Duck Tours

Related Cost Guides

Town Car Service

London Duck Tours

do london duck tours still exist

  • See all photos

do london duck tours still exist

Similar Experiences

do london duck tours still exist

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Sallprice

London Duck Tours - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

London Duck Tours

do london duck tours still exist

  • See all photos

do london duck tours still exist

Similar Experiences

do london duck tours still exist

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Sallprice

London Duck Tours - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

London Duck Tours: Guided Adventure Through London

The amazing amphibious adventure begins with a land tour through the streets of London, as you explore the capital’s historical landmarks, such as 10 Downing Street, Nelson’s Column and St James’s Palace. After this, you head down to the water at MI6’s Secret Intelligence Service and cruise along the Thames to see the Houses of Parliament, the Buxton Memorial and MI5. Each landmark offers up its own highlights, stories and secrets. Perhaps the best part of the Duck Tour is the live-action commentary, which includes alternative titbits which you wouldn’t hear on ordinary sightseeing tours.

In addition to the standard land-and-sea package, you can choose a themed tour too, including a D-Day special where you’ll hear about your vessel’s interesting wartime history. There is also the James Bond commentary tour where you get to see all of the famous settings for the movies, plus some additional MI5 and MI6 extras. Whether you’re new to the city or you’ve done it all before, the London Duck Tours offer up a fantastic alternative way to explore famous London scenery while taking in the finest riverside views.

  • Local Business

Despite Seattle’s history with Ride the Ducks, tour company plans new fleet of tourist vehicles that go on land, water

John Malouf knows that Seattle may not be keen on the idea of someone launching another fleet of amphibious vehicles on its waters and roadways.

It was just six years ago that a Ride the Ducks of Seattle vehicle loaded with tourists broke an axle and crashed into a bus filled with international students, killing five people and injuring 60. Millions were paid out to victims and their families , resulting in the tour company closing and filing for bankruptcy in April of last year.

“I know your history well,” Malouf said of the crash, and the legal journey that followed.

Still, Malouf thinks this is a prime spot to launch his Seattle Splash Tours , an “amphibious adventure” scheduled to open this summer, offering 90-minute rides on land and water in Hydra-Terra vehicles built for tourism by Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International.

“This is a completely different amphibian, built for tours,” said Malouf, who has been running Alaska Amphibious Tours in Ketchikan, Alaska, for the last 20 years.

 “It really comes down to safety.”

Unlike the Ducks vehicles — some of which were built in the 1940s and ’50s for use in the military, and maintained for decades — Seattle Splash Tours will use newer vehicles made with modern parts. The oldest vehicle in his fleet is 20 years old, he said, and the aluminum hull is filled with Coast Guard-approved buoyancy foam, “which is a huge advantage.”

“You can’t sink ‘em,” he said. “They are positively buoyant.”

His vehicles have “proven performance” in 16 countries, and he called them “the safest amphibious vehicles for tourism.”

His tour company has had one death in its history: In 2004, a pedestrian walked in front of a vehicle and was killed . Investigators found the company was not at fault.

Malouf has received a two-month permit from Seattle’s Department of Parks and Recreation to launch the vehicles at the Sunnyside Avenue North boat ramp, where the Ducks used to launch, and where he hopes good times will begin again. 

“We feel there is a bit of a vacuum there,” Malouf said of Seattle, a city he got to know well as a harvest diver. “There is a good market there. Seattle is a great tourist destination, and it has taken a hit in the last couple of years.

“It could use a little splash and fun.”

Where the Ducks tours had a more comedic tone — “Captains” at the wheel with funny names and crazy hats, punning and playing loud music — the Splash tours will be more informative, but still a good time, he said.

“We like to have fun,” Malouf said. “I think Ride the Ducks had huge local sponsorship, and after the accident, they had a hard time getting through that.

“We’re going to stand on our own,” he continued. “We’re a different company and do things the way we like to do it. And safety is our priority, coming in.”

In February 2019, after a four-month civil trial, a King County jury awarded the victims of the crash $123 million. The jury determined that Ride the Ducks International — the Branson, Missouri-based manufacturer of the Duck amphibious vehicle — bore 67% to 70% of the responsibility for the crash; and that Ride the Ducks of Seattle was 30% to 33% at fault. Awards to each of the 40 plaintiffs ranged from $40,000 to $25 million.

After the crash, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission, which regulates commercial charter buses and tourist vehicles statewide, suspended the local company from operating its 20 tourist vehicles and also found that Ducks Seattle had 463 safety violations.

Last year, four U.S. senators introduced the Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act, after a 2018 duck boat accident in which 17 people were killed on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.

The bill passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and is expected to be considered by the full Senate this year.

If passed, the law would reinforce National Transportation Safety Board recommendations, requiring the use of life jackets and equipping all operating duck boats to be more buoyant in case of emergency flooding. The law would also require the logging of safety actions; annual safety training for crew members; and the consideration of safety recommendations in previous incident reports.

Ride the Ducks left Seattle for good last July, when the 19 remaining vehicles were put up for auction , and sold for between $5,000 and $45,000; the higher bid was for a vehicle painted with the University of Washington colors and logo.

“They exceeded the best expectations we had,” said Colin Murphy, of the James G. Murphy Company, which handled the weeklong auction. “And we didn’t have a clue what they would go for, because they aren’t really for sale on the open market.”

Most Read Local Stories

  • Seattle Public Library resorting to rolling branch closures
  • Surge in electricity demand spells trouble for PNW, forecasts show VIEW
  • Expect Seattle-area I-5 backups this weekend, but there are ways around them
  • Wrong-way crash near Lynnwood kills 1, injures 2 after police chase
  • Families of 2 killed at Beyond Wonderland sue music festival organizer

The vehicles were sold to mostly private owners, from Mount Vernon in Skagit County to New York, Maine and Florida.

“They landed everywhere,” Murphy said, adding the Ducks portable ticket office sold for $4,500.

Malouf has no set start date for selling tickets. But he expects a little pushback, considering what has happened here, and in other parts of the country where amphibious vehicles were involved in accidents.

“Of course, there is going to be resistance,” he said. “There are always going to be haters. But you just keep a smile on and keep on trucking.”

And floating. That, too.

IMAGES

  1. Classic Sightseeing Tour

    do london duck tours still exist

  2. London Duck Tours

    do london duck tours still exist

  3. London, The Unfinished City: London Duck Tours

    do london duck tours still exist

  4. London Duck Tours

    do london duck tours still exist

  5. London Duck Tours

    do london duck tours still exist

  6. Gallery

    do london duck tours still exist

COMMENTS

  1. London Duck Tours

    London Duck Tours - Amazing Amphibious London Tours. 0:00 / 2:00. Please note that we are no longer able to operate our usual range of sightseeing tours due to Thames Water's compulsory purchase of our slipway to build the next phase of the Thames Tunnel super sewer. Watch this space, as we intend to be in a position to give an update on ...

  2. London's yellow amphibious duck buses get £250,000 makeover with River

    Alistair Bigos, John's son and commercial director of London Duck Tours, described his work planning the return of duck bus tours to London: He said: "The tour concepts will still stay the same. The core route which takes in Royal, Historic Central London will still exist.

  3. London Duck Tours

    This means, regretfully, London Duck Tours' current business of carrying fare paying passengers on the River Thames must cease from 09.00 on Monday 18th September 2017 to make way for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Managing Director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos said, "The 18th September will be a very sad day for the ...

  4. Classic Sightseeing Tour

    Let the original London Duck tour take you around the beating heart of London - where royalty mixes with parliament and pageantry! Tours. Buy Tickets / Vouchers. #londonducktours. 020 7928 3132. Super sightseeing TOURs Menu. x; ... But still there's more…how about the "head office" of our Royal family, Buckingham Palace itself, and ...

  5. London Duck Tours to stop running after company loses Thames access

    Managing Director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos said: "The 18th September will be a very sad day for the company, which was going from strength to strength, but it was vital not to delay ...

  6. Are London Duck Tours Still Running?

    If you're planning a trip to London, you may be wondering if the popular Duck Tours are still running. These amphibious vehicles have been a staple of the city's tourism scene for years, offering a unique way to see both the land and water sights of London. ... In 2017, it was announced that London Duck Tours would be ceasing operations due ...

  7. London Duck Tours

    Contact: 020 7928 3132, bookings 08445 791940. London Duck Tours (previously Frog Tours) start in a conventional fashion from the rear of County Hall, crossing the river via Westminster Bridge to ...

  8. London Duck Tours: An amphibious adventure

    There are a whole host of tours to choose from too - James Bond, City of London, D-Day Duck Tour, Pirate Treasure Hunt, a Quackmas Carol and a Codebreaker Challenge. Prices differ depending on your choice of tour, but for the Classic Sightseeing an adult ticket is £27, a child (age 1 - 17 years) is £19, under 1's are free or you could ...

  9. LONDON DUCK TOURS

    Skip to main content. Discover. Trips

  10. London Duck Tours

    London Duck Tours, London: See 2,029 reviews, articles, and 622 photos of London Duck Tours, ranked No.2,670 on Tripadvisor among 2,670 attractions in London.

  11. London Duck Tours

    This means, regretfully, London Duck Tours' current business of carrying fare paying passengers on the River Thames must cease from 09.00 on Monday 18th September 2017 to make way for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Managing Director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos said, "The 18th September will be a very sad day for the ...

  12. London Duck Tours

    With the London Eye in plain view, the London Duck Tour bus stop is in Chicheley Street. It's difficult to miss the garish yellow stand not-to-mention vehicles. Very pleasant and organized staff are the cherry on top of this awesome experience. ... In moments like this I wish we were still in London. Reply. Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla. August 07 ...

  13. History

    A Brief History of Ducks. There are few vehicles in history that have been as successful or enduring as the DUKW, or as we at London Duck Tours affectionately call them, "Ducks". The DUKW was the product of two very impressive parents, the General Motors Corporation (GMC - who provided the automotive components) and the celebrated New ...

  14. LONDON DUCK TOURS

    36 reviews and 30 photos of London Duck Tours "I think instead of touring London by buses,tubes,rails or cars why not give the London Duck Tours Amphibious Vehicles a try. Fair enough you will have to trudge up to the South-East side but the exercise will do you good. I have been on one of these and the journey is more than just sightseeing-its more of an exciting road and river adventure that ...

  15. London Duck Tours

    London Duck Tours. 2,029 reviews. #14 of 133 Boat Tours & Water Sports in London. City ToursHistorical & Heritage ToursDuck Tours. Open now. 9:30 AM - 5:00 PM. Write a review. See all photos. About.

  16. London Duck Tours: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

    This means, regretfully, London Duck Tours' current business of carrying fare paying passengers on the River Thames must cease from 09.00 on Monday 18th September 2017 to make way for the construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Managing Director of London Duck Tours, John Bigos said, "The 18th September will be a very sad day for the ...

  17. London Duck Tours

    Skip to main content. Review. Trips Alerts Sign in

  18. London Duck Tours

    Skip to main content. Review. Trips Alerts

  19. London Duck Tours

    When you want an entertaining tour of the city, rather than the snooze of a listless guide intoning historical dates, try driving straight off the edge of the Thames in the most bizarre London sightseeing adventure, and book an afternoon with the London Duck Tours. To commence the tour, you clamber aboard a yellow, land-and-sea-going tank-style vehicle, and you can prepare to be wowed by ...

  20. Duck tour

    London's "London Duck Tours limited" owned 13 vessels prior to 2017, of which some saw action in D-day. They were operating DUKWs in the UK but closed on 18 September 2017. Safety. Duck boats based on the old WWII DUKW have a poor safety record and a large number of fatal incidents for the amount of vehicles in service.

  21. Despite Seattle's history with Ride the Ducks, tour company plans new

    The Ducks are migrating back to Seattle. A Ketchikan, Alaska, company plans to start running amphibious tours this summer despite a Ride the Ducks accident on the Aurora Bridge in 2015 that killed ...