“Duck Boats” May be Cruising Into Chicago


Chicago-based Entertainment Cruises recently submitted a proposal to launch "duck tours,” vehicles that operate both on land and in water, in the Chicago River, according to a report by

The tours are popular in cities like Boston and Seattle and require special ramps to enter and exit the water. Entertainment Cruises has proposed that one ramp be built in the water at Marina Towers by modifying an existing marina structure and the other be built on the east bank of the river at West Polk Street, according to public documents.

"We're very excited about the possibility," Dan Russell, vice president and general manager for Entertainment Cruises said in the article. "Given the complexity of putting this together, I understand why no one has attempted to do this [in Chicago] yet. It's a tricky one."

Entertainment Cruises must get the approval of several agencies before construction of the ramps can begin. If approved, construction would start sometime within the next two years, Russell said.

The proposal is currently being reviewed by state regulators, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The proposal also needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. It's already been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service.

Entertainment Cruises is billed as the nation's largest dining and sightseeing cruise company. The Chicago outpost operates from Navy Pier and Russell told that one of the main reasons tourism is growing is because there are so many wonderful things to do in the city.

"The Chicago duck tours will be another reason to come down," Russell says. "The important thing now is to do this correctly and open this in the right way. We have a long view on this."

Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism