PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The amphibious ducks of Just Ducky Tours have become a familiar sight on the bridges and streets of Pittsburgh.
They follow the same traffic laws as any other vehicle, but the rivers are Coast Guard jurisdiction. Regulations based on the average weight of a passenger in 1960 have changed.
“The average adult has basically grown from 140 to 185 (pounds),” Lt. John Downing said.
Downing says the Coast Guard issued new restrictions.
“Everybody had to be in compliance by Dec. 1, 2011, so all passenger vessels in Pittsburgh were in compliance by then,” he said. “We have 15 passenger vessels that are actually certificated passenger vessels.”
The new weight limits will have no effect on the five vessels in the Gateway Clipper Fleet, although they did voluntarily lower the number of passengers on their smallest boat, the Countess, from 150 to 112.
The Fantasy Party Yacht and Miss Pittsburgh riverboat did have to cut back on passengers. Owner Mark Schiller says lost revenue has forced him to search for a third boat to take up the slack.
For Just Ducky Tours, compliance meant physical changes. Co-owner Chris D’Addario says World War II prepared them well.
“Two ducks could carry a light tank of a P-38 airplane, so 30 passengers on one of these ducks is not asking too much,” he said.