At Just Ducky Tours, safety is our utmost priority. Our commitment to our passengers' and crew's safety is just as has been since our opening day on July 13, 1997. For 22 years, Just Ducky Tours has safely operated tours in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania transporting close to 2 million passengers as we showcase our city and its iconic three rivers.


We are 100% locally owned and operated, and are fully regulated by the United States Coast Guard. We operate under the parameters of their Certificate of Inspection specific to Just Ducky Tours, which includes several safety regulations to which we strictly adhere, including weather and river conditions.


We have comprehensive procedures, infrastructure and training measures in place to keep our guests and crew safe while enjoying Pittsburgh’s rivers.


Here are a few highlights:


  • The U.S. Coast Guard’s rules and regulations that we adhere to are specific to Just Ducky Tours and Pittsburgh’s three rivers. They aren’t “one size fits all” rules for all duck boats or any passenger carrying vessels. They are separate rules that are specific to the waterways our vehicles navigate.


  • We only operate in the protected waters of the Pittsburgh rivers and are always within 250 feet of the shoreline, allowing for quick exit from the waterway should the need arise.  


  • We are the first duck boat operator to install an emergency window drop-down system, this is a safety mechanism that allows people to exit the boat quickly.


  • In addition, our canopy only covers the first 24 seats of the vessel allowing for the back of the vessel to be open which allows for easy escape from the vehicle should the need arise. 


  • Due to the topography of Pittsburgh, information concerning weather conditions are easily available and used daily as we do business.  We carefully monitor all weather conditions, which are part of our Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection. If weather conditions make river travel unsafe, we have the ability to offer “land only” tours.  We constantly monitor weather conditions and complete a voyage risk assessment prior to each tour: calculating and documenting wind speed, river current, precipitation and radar. We delay or cancelled tours if the possibility of inclement weather is forecast. We also empower our Captains to cancel tours or alter routes while in transit.


  • We run the original, unaltered DUKW that has been proven safer than the stretch ducks used in other cities.  The original DUKW is equipped with a Higgins bilge pump that can pump 250 gallons per minute allowing for the vessel to remain afloat while reaching safety should the need arise.


  • We have operated with two crewmembers on board each and every vessel – a Captain and a Senior Deckhand – since our first day of operation. We have advocated for others in the industry to implement this practice for years. In order to support the crew in safe operation on both water and land, we have installed 360-degree camera systems on all of our vessels. These systems give the driver an unobstructed view of any potential hazards and help to eliminate blind spots. We have also outfitted all of our vehicles with GPS recording devices. We know exactly where and at what speed each and every one of our ducks is moving at any moment.  


  • In the unlikely event of an emergency, you will be instructed to don a life jacket. There are instructions on how to don a life jacket on the racks above the seats, or on either side of the back deck. In addition, a safety briefing introducing our safety equipment is given by the Captain and Senior Deckhand to the passengers before each and every tour. This includes detailing their locations and demonstrating how to don a life jacket .


  • All of our Captains have completed the United States Coast Guard’s rigorous certification program and participate in regular training for safety procedures and drills.  These drills are performed annually in front of the United States Coast Guard to their satisfaction.

Shipboard Safety Protocols

It's a Boat...It's a Truck...It's a Duck

The Just Ducky Tour's fleet consists of authentic DUKW's built in 1944 and 1945.  The DUKW (popularly pronounced "duck") is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck that was designed by General Motors Corporation during World War II.  The vehicles were used for transporting goods and troops over land and water.


Today, the DUKW's are used in the hour-long exploration of the City of Pittsburgh and its history, approximately 35 minutes on land and 25 minutes on the water. The fully-narrated tour incorporates the history of Pittsburgh, the importance of the region and future of the area in a fun and fresh way. It allows riders to have fun and learn in the process!

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