Ducks or DUKWs
36 years . . . over 30 million passengers . . . over 1,000,000 tours
Ride The Ducks has been producing fully modern amphibious vehicles under United States Coast Guard oversight and supervision since 1997. With over 90 vehicles operating today, carrying more than 1,500,000 passengers annually in the USA, no other amphibious tour vehicle manufacturer has more vehicles on the road, anywhere.
The Ride The Ducks (RTD) vehicle is similar to the classic WWII DUKW design in appearance only. Our Ducks, built from the ground up under United States Coast Guard supervision, incorporate modern marine technology and safety equipment. The RTD vehicle differs from the WWII DUKW in many ways including, but not limited to, patented safety features, new steel, new hull design, higher freeboard, modern fire protection and suppression systems.
DUKWs in History
DUKWs were first built by General Motors in 1942 and were basically a truck enclosed in a water-tight shell. You may think they are called DUKWs because they can splash into the water and out again, but actually the name is a military acronym. The letters are codes indicating that it was designed in 1942 (D), for utility/amphibious purposes (U), with front wheel drive (K), and two rear driving axles (W).
The first operational use of the DUKW was in March 1943, when the U.S. landed Army troops on Noumea, New Caledonia. Later organized into companies, the DUKW displayed its versatility by carrying ammunition directly from anchored ships to shore. This use of the DUKWs kept American casualties to a minimum, but a bigger purpose surfaced as American ingenuity took over...some of the DUKWs were modified to carry 4.5-inch rockets.
General Patton and General Eisenhower realized the DUKW was an invaluable war tool, and they were impressed by its capabilities. Over 1,000 DUKWs were used in the Sicilian landings of 1943 alone. Operation Overlord, the landing in Normandy, was the most crucial operation in history with circumstances that made the DUKWs virtually indispensable. Approximately, 2,000 DUKWs brought to shore 40% of all supplies landed between June 6 and September 1, 1944.
Ride The Ducks and Hurricane Katrina
Our vehicles are not only the best and most proven design for amphibious sightseeing, but have also proved worthy in rescue missions. Ride The Ducks was the only amphibious tour operator/manufacturer to support the rescue and evacuation efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We immediately volunteered equipment, crew, and other resources in order to help evacuate hundreds of residents of the hardest-hit areas.
Our team of volunteers was deemed "invaluable" by many involved in the rescue effort as our ducks were able to safely access and remove large numbers of people from areas inaccessible by other means. Not since Normandy have we been so proud of our Ducks and our people.