When you first arrive at Ride the Ducks of Seattle and witness first-hand a DUKW, most people think, “What is that? Is it a bus? Is it a boat?”
Originally called the DUKW, it wasn’t nearly as much fun as it is now! It was designed by the National Defense Research Committee and the Office of Scientific Research and Development to be a hard-working military vehicle, aiding the military in supply and troop transportation during WWII. Unfortunately, at first glance, it was rejected by the military!
However, when a Coast Guard patrol boat ran aground in Provincetown, Massachusettes, seven servicemen were stranded on a sandbar. With winds up to 60 knots, rain and heavy surf, no other boats could reach the men. Luckily, a DUKW was in the area for a demonstration and when the military personnel witnessed the ease with which the DUKW maneuvered through the seas, the military opposition dissolved.
Eventually, the DUKW would cross the English Channel, storm the beaches of Normandy, have an impactful effect in battles at Sicily and Salerno and here in Seattle, 70 years later, enjoy retirement, cruising Lake Union daily.
For more in-depth information of the DUKW’s impact on military history, go to: