Cape Cod Duckmobiles to Shut Down Operation

Courtesy of Cape Cod Duckmobiles.

HYANNIS – A downtown Hyannis tourist attraction will only be in operation for five more weeks.

The final day for Cape Cod Duckmobiles will be August 22. The business, which is part of the company Cape Cod Tours, has been in operation since 1995 and has carried up to 30,000 passengers during peak seasons.

The yellow and blue Duckmobiles travel along the streets of downtown Hyannis and through Lewis Bay.

U.S. insurers are no longer renewing coverage for the amphibious vehicles due to high profile accidents, including one last July in Branson, Missouri when a vehicle capsized and sank in high winds killing 17 people.

Jon Britton, who owns Cape Cod Tours, Inc. with Doreen Britton, said everyone is sad the operation is coming to an end.

“There is nothing we can do about it,” Britton said. “We just have to make the best of it and do what we can for the next few weeks and just move on.”

Britton said they were notified a year ago by insurer Great American Insurance Co. that they would no longer cover combination land and water vehicles.

Unlike many other similar businesses, Cape Cod Duckmobiles were able to operate this year. The business’s insurance coverage starts and ends in August.

“They tried to cancel us last year, the insurance company did, but my agent said ‘you can’t because you already sent them a renewal letter for the 2019 season,’” Britton said.

Britton participated in a summit in Boston in February which was attended by companies from all around the world. He said insurance companies said they just couldn’t take the chance anymore due to the accidents.  

“We can’t buy insurance,” Britton said. “We’ve been all over the world. After the accident in Branson last year they decided they don’t want the negative exposure.”

Britton said he was upset and angry last year.

“I’ve come to accept the fact and I don’t know what [August] 23rd is going to be like but right now we are doing what we can,” he said. “We are doing circles and we are entertaining people the best we can knowing that every day is one day closer [to the end.]”

Cape Cod Tours will continue to operate its children and family fishing trips.

“We just do a 90-minute trip with about 45 minutes of fishing for the younger kids and it has worked well,” Britton said.

The trips will run during the summer months, between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Britton said he is also going to slow down a bit and spend more time with his wife and family.

Britton said the closure of the Duckmobile business may also be felt by other local businesses.

“We bring 400-500 people a day to Main Street Hyannis,” he said. “They come here and we see them all day long walking up and down the street buying stuff, and that is going to stop. It’s unfortunate.”

Tickets through August 22 can still be purchased at Departure times run from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.

Britton has sold two of the amphibious vehicles to businesses in Canada.

“We have a lot invested in this business,” Britton said. “Our retirement was going to be to sell the business and move on, but now we have to liquidate the business.”


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