PORTLAND – The duck boat accident in Philadelphia didn’t prevent Downeast Duck Adventures from making its rounds downtown and in Casco Bay on Thursday.

“Another day as usual,” said Joe Stanley, the owner and driver of the sole duck boat in Maine.

Seventeen-year-old Arianne Paradis, visiting from Montreal with her sister and grandmother, was among the passengers who were unaware that a duck boat had sunk after being struck by a barge in the Delaware River. But that knowledge, she said, wouldn’t have changed her mind about wanting to take the Portland tour.

“It’s not here. It’s Philadelphia,” she said.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Philadelphia vessel caught fire, was hit by a barge and sank. Thirty-seven passengers were dumped into the water and two remained missing Thursday. Ride the Ducks, the Georgia-based business that also runs tours in San Francisco, Atlanta, Branson, Mo., and Newport, Ky., has suspended operations.

In Portland, 19 passengers toured the streets of the Old Port, the Arts District and the Eastern Promenade to the trivia-and-pun-filled narration of guide Derek Meader before the amphibious vehicle went down the East End Beach boat ramp.

The Lionel Plante Sr., a landing craft carrying a truck, was the only moving vessel in sight. It went off in one direction while the duck boat turned right and made its way alongside the beach among moored sailboats.

“We are at top speed right now,” Meader said. “Sometimes even kayaks pass us, but it’s OK.”

The down-and-back loop took about 20 minutes. Stanley said he stopped using a Portland Yacht Service ramp that put the vessel into the much more heavily traveled shipping channels in the harbor this season, the company’s seventh.

The Coast Guard inspects all vessels that carry more than six passengers for hire at least once a year, said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Ferrie. Downeast Duck Adventures’ vessel is the only duck boat among the 200 to 250 vessels that fall into that category in the district, which comprises Maine and New Hampshire, he said.

“We’ve never had any major problems with it,” Ferrie said.

Unlike some duck boats operating around the country, Downeast Duck Adventures’ vessel is not a refurbished military personnel carrier. Stanley’s boat was designed by Cape Elizabeth-based marine architect Roger Long and custom-built for the tourist trade.

A bachelorette party of a half-dozen women was part of the tour. A couple of them were surprised to learn of the Philadelphia accident after disembarking. The bride-to-be, 27-year-old Teal Rancourt, had heard the news but hadn’t mentioned it to her friends.

“I didn’t even think about it,” she said. “I have so many wedding things to do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

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