You’ve seen these unusual yellow vehicles driving around Oahu, some actually making quacking noises. Other than asking what the heck it is, I hear a lot of people say they thought Hawaii Duck Tours had closed. Well, it did for a few years, and it’s back, but with a new owner and a fleet of brand new ducks. (Disclosure, they are also one of my clients.)
The original 2.5-ton, six-wheel amphibious trucks were originally manufactured by General Motors Corp. for amphibious operations in World War II by the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Its primary use was to ferry ammunition, supplies, and equipment from supply ships in transport areas offshore to supply dumps and fighting units at the beach. The DUKW (an acronym based on D-model year 1942, U-amphibian, K-all wheel drive, W-dual rear axles), called “duck,” was shaped like a boat. It had an enclosed, hollow airtight body for buoyancy and used a single propeller for forward momentum.
Today, the ducks are open-air and much more stable than the old ones, and while their dual-terrain mobility can theoretically be used for military-type operations, they are functional for peacetime events. Their unique, quirky design make them interesting conversation pieces — which hopefully can teach people who have never known war, their important place in history.
We sat with Hawaii Duck Tours General Manager Will Yokoyama halfway through a tour of Maunalua Bay yesterday to find out more about the new ducks and how they are making a comeback.
We got out and walked around the duck with Will to look at all the new features of the “version 2.0″ vehicle. Click here to see more and learn about how it can be used not just for tours, but for emergency situations today.