During the early days of World War II, the Allies faced a tough tactical problem: How to discharge the cargo and men from their ships in places where dock facilities had been destroyed or simply did not exist? The answer was to unload cargo directly onto the beach.
The exigencies of war, along with the expertise and old fashioned Yankee ingenuity combined to create the perfect solution - a vehicle that was half boat and half truck that could run on land and water. Code-named: DUKW. The first "duck" was actually a GMC truck enclosed in a water-tight shell.
It was not long before DUKWs played a crucial role in the Allied invasion of Sicily, the Pacific and the largest invasion of all, D-Day. In fact, over 40% of all beach supplies in Normandy were transported by DUKWs during the first four months.
Boston Duck Tours operates a fleet of restored World War II DUKWs. These amphibious vehicles played an important role in both theaters of Europe and the Pacific war.
The Boston Duck Tours and Museum of Science Boston have joined together to present the history of these remarkable vehicles. A special exhibit includes a history of the DUKW, photographs, vintage posters and films. General Motors built 21,000 DUKWs during the war. The display also includes a fully restored Seep. It looks like a miniature DUKW but is actually one of the 12,000 amphibious Jeeps built by Ford Motor Company during World War II. This special exhibit is located in the Science Museum, near the cockpit of Boston Duck Tours ticket.
In recent years, Boston Duck Tours has begun to replace the original DUKWs with DUKWs that are easier to maintain and operate. The Boston Duck Tours fleet currently consists of original DUKWs that house 32 people with a new open air deck for the last 8 seats and DUKWs time guests are 36 and are completely closed. DUKWs currently have 15 original and 9 DUKWs at a time. The DUKW type you choose depends on the size of your group and timing of your trip.
The Duck Tours has three convenient points of departure including the Museum of Science at 1 Science Park, the Prudential Center in Boston's Back Bay at 53 Huntington Avenue, and the New England Aquarium at 1 Central Wharf. Operating season runs from March 23 through November 29 each year. The tour runs on each weekend throughout December as well. The tours from the Prudential Center and the Museum of Science operate seven days a week rain or shine. Weather does not prevent the tours from these locations from happening.
Each tour is approximately 80 minutes when departing from the Prudential Center or Museum of Science and 55 minutes when departing from the New England Aquarium. The tours begin at 9:00 am and the last tour from the Museum of Science and Prudential Center leaves an hour before sunset. Tours leave every 30 or 60 minutes, depending upon the season.