AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Duck Adventures has been stuck on dry land since the boat ramp at Walsh Boat Landing closed in September for construction.
The city council granted Austin Duck Adventures limited access to Lady Bird Lake at the Festival Beach Boat Ramp until summer 2020 or until another viable alternative becomes available.
Austin Duck Adventures owner, Paul Mahler, told KVUE if this was not approved by the council, they would have went out of business.
“Without the water aspect, we didn’t have anyone who wanted to come out and do the tour," explained Mahler.
According to the resolution approved to the city council, the tour is the Austin Visitors Center's top selling tour ticket item, yielding approximately $343,780 in sales during 2019. 12% of each ticket sold went to Visit Austin, the resolution states.
“It is completely different than a boat, where as a boat will take water from the lake and cool the engine and goes back into the water to exhaust," explained Mahler. "Our exhaust is completely contained and goes up back through the roof, so nothing goes into the water."
Mahler said the new ramp is safer than the previous ramp they used at Walsh Landing.
“At Walsh Boat Landing, there is a lot of people trying to launch their boats," Mahler said. "There is a lot of people in the park, people walking their dogs and swimming. At this area, it is less activity and a safer place for us to go into the water."
Mahler added they are very cautious before entering and leaving the ramp.
“Before they enter the water, they stop at the top of ramp and make sure no one is coming and then they slowly enter into the waters of Lady Bird Lake," said Mahler.
The group can use Festival Beach Boat Ramp no more than two times per day on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and three times per day on weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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