Just Ducky Tours Cancels 2019 Season

You Won’t Hear The Famous “Quacks” This Summer

Larry Richert and John Shumway
June 25, 2019 - 12:04 pm

Melinda Roeder

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - You’ve probably heard the “quack, quack, quack” coming from both participants and spectators of Just Ducky Tours as the repurposed, amphibious trucks from World War II traveled on land and water throughout the city.

Unfortunately for many fans, Just Ducky Tours will not be offering tours for the 2019 season. 

Co-Owner of Just Ducky Tours Michael Cohen told KDKA Radio’s Larry Richert and John Shumway on Tuesday morning that one of the reasons why they will be closed this summer is due to an accident with a Just Ducky Tour Boat in Missouri in July 2017. 17 people were killed when their boat capsized and sank on Table Rock Lake. 

“It’s the insurance,” Cohen said.  “We received a non-renewable notice. As a result of receiving that, we’ve have to scramble to receive new coverage. This wasn’t just something our company was affected; this was industry wide, other companies that were similar to us.” 

Cohen told Larry and John that despite doing everything right - adhering to  U.S. Coast Guard regulations, providing life jackets on all boats and staying within 250ft of the shoreline, according to their website - they became a victim. “It was something that over the past 11 months, we worked tirelessly behind the scenes to right the ship, so to speak, for something we weren’t apart of,” Cohen said. “A lot of effort went into it, with a great staff, but we came up short.” 

Just Ducky Tours had the option of only doing land tours, but Cohen said the allure of the product is the ability to do both. “It never got tiring for me, I was proud to do it. It was a great experience, driving in and out of the water. So to take that component out, in my opinion, just minimize the product.”

The company found a local buyer who was interested in purchasing the business, but the buyer’s financing fell through. “There were so many moving parts, the discussion of a buyer was never discussed until now. I would really love to see a buyer who would want to keep this thing going. I would be happy to see it happen. Right now, we haven’t concentrated our efforts to see if there is a new buyer just yet,” said Cohen.

“If this accident never happened, maybe you, and I, and John would be talking about the fact that we just launched our 9th boat,” Cohen said. “If the accident never took place, we would be operating today, simply stated.”

Cohen said he plans on searching for a local buyer. “We came to Pittsburgh in ‘97 and we were welcomed. We’ve had riders from not just Pittsburgh, but around the world. We were proud of what we were able to do and were proud to give back to the community.”

Ashley Funyak contributed to this article.

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