Operations Group Factual
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The amphibious tour operator, Ride The Ducks International, LLC, (RTDI) was originally foundedin 1977 by an entrepreneur in Branson, Missouri, as a small sightseeing business.
In 2001, RTDIpartnered with the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFEC), which later became thesole owner of RTDI in 2004. RTDI currently operates a fleet of more than 90 APVs and carries morethan 1,200,000 passengers annually on amphibious tours at seven locations. Three of these locations,Branson, Missouri; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California, are owned by RTDI.The other four locations are independent licensees.
In San Francisco, the company also operates aclassic cable car fleet of more than 40 vehicles that perform strictly land tours of the city. At the timeof the accident, the company was an active member of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA), and
all of the company’s operations were domestic.
The parent corporation, HFEC, owns, operates, and manages 24 themed entertainment propertiesacross 9 states.
One of the properties is the passenger vessel
Showboat Branson Belle
, a dinner andexcursion vessel certificated by Coast Guard to carry 750 passengers for hire.
RTDI and HFECcorporate headquarters are both located in Norcross, Georgia.RTDI opened its Philadelphia operation in 2003. The 15 APVs at that location operate from Marchthrough November, as weather permits. On the date of the accident, the RTDI team consisted of 7Coast Guard licensed masters, 5 CDL licensed drivers, and 13 personnel serving in other positions.
Policy on crew usage of cellular or wireless devices
RTDI personnel in Philadelphia used company-issued cellular telephones with direct-connect radiocapability for internal communications during operational periods, except when driving a companyvehicle. A cellular telephone was assigned to each APV unit in operation and to certain other RTDIpersonnel based upon position held. APVs were outfitted with marine VHF radios forcommunication with other vessel traffic; however APV-to-APV communications were madeutilizing the direct-connect radio function.Per RTDI corporate policy, the DUKW captains and drivers were allowed to carry personal cellulartelephones as long as they were kept on vibrate or silent mode and were never used on tour or insight of guests, except in an emergency.
Locally, RTDI in Philadelphia had policy in place whichstated personal cell phones were not to be used at work, and could not be used or displayed at theticket booth, while on the curb, or while on the DUKW with guests.
In the event employees neededto use their cell phones, they were required to obtain permission from a manager or supervisor and toremove themselves from the guest
view to make a call.
K-Sea Transportation, Incorporated6.1.
Corporate Information and Safety Management Practices
Per the NTSB interview of RTDI President, September 9, 2010.
Showboat Branson Belle
(Official Number 1029918) was built in 1995, and is 195 feet in length, 74 feet in breadth, andhas a draft of 12.7 feet. The vessel is 94 Gross Registered Tons (GRT), with 400 HP ahead and is limited to operations uponthe Table Rock Lake in Missouri.
RTDI Operations Manger E-mail to NTSB dated December 29, 2010. RTDI in Philadelphia employs 18 Captains of which12 are Commercial Driver License certified. Additionally, they employ 11 drivers who are CDL certified only.
RTDI Captain’s Operations Manual 2010, dated February 20, 2010.
RTDI Philadelphia Standard Operating Procedures 2010 dated February 25, 2010.