At Market Street Railway, we focus on historic rail vehicles, but there are plenty of other historic vehicles in San Francisco as well, and we celebrate all of them. One group of interest are the DUKW vehicles run by Bay Quackers. Universally referred to as Ducks instead of their military acronym, these are the World War II-era amphibious vehicles you see carrying tourists along The Embarcadero from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Bay, where they plunge into the water for a cruise.
Just like the “tourist trolley” concept started in San Francisco in the 1950s (when the late Arnold Gridley bought up surplus California Street Cable Railway cable cars and plunked their bodies down on truck chassis), then spread to other cities, the Duck experience started in Boston a long time ago with genuine surplus military vehicles and spread from there. In both cases, copycat operations tended to go for replica vehicles. Bay Quackers, though, uses the real thing — and, importantly, it’s a locally-owned business, run by John Scannell. Bay Quackers is up for consideration as an “outstanding tour company” on sfgate.com. If you’re interested in supporting their devotion to authentic vintage vehicles, you can cast your vote for them here.