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Vehicle

We use the amphibious vessel Hydra-Terra built by C.A.M.I (Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International). These modern vehicles are built purposefully for tourism and have marked differences from the old DUKW vehicles.

Hydra-Terra is Proven Unsinkable

The manufacturer has designed and patented an aluminum hull that includes four feet of sidewall height and is quite literally, unsinkable. The engine is in the middle of the vehicle referred to as the tunnel and along both sides of the hull, box compartments have been fabricated and filled with urethane flotation foam approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are no wires, mechanics, or fluids running in or out of these filled compartments. The construction resembles a large pontoon on each side of the engine room tunnel. In the event of flooding, the only place water can accumulate is in the vessel’s very center. It cannot go freely from side to side increasing stability, instead of losing it.

The amount of flotation foam includes the entire weight of the vehicle fully loaded with seats, fuel, and all the safety gear.  The U.S. Coast Guard then calculates the weight of each soul aboard at 185 lbs or approximately 5 tons.  A reserve weight of approximately 1,000 lbs is then added to ensure the vessel remains above the 8” water line after testing the removal of the drain plugs and allowing water to free flood the center tunnel. 

Seaworthiness

The Hydra-Terra has a patented hull design that is unique to amphibious tour vehicles.

Its center of gravity is exceptionally low which translates into safer operations on the water. Our vessels are all rated for partially protected waters for the U.S. Coast Guard stability. No DUKW is approved for partially protected waters.

Freeboard

Even when the Hydra-Terra is fully-loaded with passengers, its distance from the water up to the sides’ top rail is 4 feet. DUKWs have approximately 16 to 18 inches.

Passenger Safety

We follow all D.O.T. and U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Our vehicles are inspected during manufacturing to ensure all federal regulations for passenger safety are installed. Passenger escape, access doors, aisle widths, and distance from the seats to doors are all included in our approved regulations.

DUKWs have grandfather protection and numerous special exemptions from a law called  NAVIC. The aisles and doors are much smaller and emergency exit is more difficult than Hydra-Terra vehicles.

Hull Superstructure Engineering

The Hydra-Terra hull is designed to international standards adopted by many governments and the U.S. Coast Guard. ABS high-speed craft rules are written by a society of naval engineers to ensure safe vessel construction. The design for the Hydra-Terra was fully inspected and approved prior to any construction of the hull.

Built To Deliver

There are countless calculations performed on the design. The hull was engineered and designed by CAMI, who then brought in an outside naval architect firm to retest and confirm the vessel’s stress and stability standards.  Only after their full review did C.A.M.I submit the hull plans to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard completely reviewed all drawings, designs, materials, welding procedures, and material testing before approval.

The U.S. Coast Guard fully signed off on the hull meeting all requirements of “T” boat regulations, the current laws for all commercial vessels. The Hydra-Terra complies without any such NAVIC exemptions. In addition to all of the above, C.A.M.I had the design put into supercomputers for full finite element analysis, the same analysis used to test supersize ships. The Hydra-Terra passed with no modifications required.

Modern Components

The Hydra-Terra is built with all current mass-produced technology. Brand new components are used during construction and meet the model year DOT requirements.

Emissions

We use current Caterpillar engines that meet all model-year federal emissions standards, helping keep the environment clean.

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Ketchikan duck tour
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