CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - In the aftermath of Thursday's tragic Ride the Ducks boat capsizing in Missouri that left 17 dead, this brings questions as to how safe tourist watercraft is in North Iowa and Southern Minnesota.
Scott Monson is the owner and operator of the Lady of the Lake in Clear Lake, which operates during the summer months and is a large draw for tourists.
He and his crew pay close attention to the weather, with staff having at least three mobile weather apps on their phones to ensure conditions are favorable to sail, and won't take a chance if conditions get worse.
"We do not cruise if the winds are over 18 mph, just for public safety. It's hard to control the boat when you've got that high of a wind. And wind direction, sometimes it might be 15 mph, but if it's blowing straight out of the south, it makes it real hard to come in and do our landing."
Monson has experienced being on the water during a storm before, during a private charter run, and had no choice to but to ride it out.
"The gusts were up to 60, close to 70 mph, and it took us about 45 minutes to get the boat turned around and headed into the wind. We just sat out there and rode the storm out, and as soon as the winds came down, we drove back in and got parked."
Monson adds that people must be aware of their surroundings while out on the water, as they have experienced close calls before.
He also recommends having your boat serviced so you don't find yourself stranded if the weather takes a sudden turn for the worst.