With the traditional start of the summer boating season a week after kickoff, the Missouri Water Patrol Division is ready to be in force on the Lake of the Ozarks.
More boaters than ever are expected to head to the lake this summer. As the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has shut down tourist destinations across the country, the Lake of the Ozarks has drawn in boaters and visitors looking for open destinations. If 2021 follows this trend, it could be another banner year.
For the upcoming boating season to handle the tens of thousands of boaters who will be on the water, the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F has 20 officers trained to work the water, according to Lt. Stephen Burgun. Of these, 14 are assigned full time to the Lake of the Ozarks. During holidays or special events, additional resources are available from F Troop, as well as other divisions across the state. A soldier-in-training will also be assigned to work with other officers on the water.
Burgun is the deputy director of the Aquatic Patrol Division. No stranger to Lake of the Ozarks has served locally for a number of years. Burgun was with the Water Patrol before merging with the Missouri Highway Patrol in 2011. Burgun served as a Supervisor on the Lake of the Ozarks before being transferred to F Troop Headquarters in Jefferson City.
Burgun said the most common violations officers cite for boaters on Lake of the Ozarks are related to safety violations. Drunk boating, failure to exercise the highest degree of care, and life jacket violations are among the most common.
âEducation and law enforcement campaigns have had a positive effect on raising awareness of intoxicated boating. Each year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol participates in the national boating campaign, “Operation Dry Water,” which focuses on reducing alcohol-related accidents and fatalities through increased awareness of the boating community. boaters, Burgun said.
While there are no big changes coming to Lake of the Ozarks enforcement efforts this summer, Burgun said the nautical patrol division is encouraging boaters to remember the limited wake restrictions on the lake. of the Ozarks and to be courteous and responsible when on the water.
âFor those who request and meet certain requirements, boats 40 feet or more must idle while in the restricted area. These areas are signposted on either side of the shore. A map of the Lake of the Ozarks is available that shows which areas are approved for no limited wake, âhe said.
The rule allowing limited wake-free zones was implemented in 2020. The law allows the no-wake limited cove rule to apply to boats 40 feet and longer in coves where the waterway narrows to. 800 feet or less. The rule is the result of legislation passed in 2018.
Prior to the new rule, the law required coves to be 400 â³ or less to qualify for the no-wake designation. Wake-free areas must be approved by the Nautical Patrol Division as part of a permitting process.
The rule is intended to increase safety and reduce property damage caused by wakes created by larger vessels.
A partial list of coves with limited no-wake areas include:
â¢ Part of Jennings Branch Cove at the 1 mile terminal
â¢ Lynch Hollow Cove at the 10 mile terminal
â¢ Indian Creek Cove on Gravois Arm near the 6.2 mile marker â¢ Part of Mill Creek Cove on Gravois Arm near the 3 mile marker
â¢ Watson Hollow Cove on Grand Glaize Arm near the 1.7 mile marker
â¢ Niangua Arm starting at the 9.5 mile marker and moving upstream
For a full overview of the map showing all of the limited no-wake zones, visit the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Water Patrol Division page, https://apps.mshp.dps.mo.gov/MSHPWeb/WaterPatrol/index. html Also available on the home page is a courtesy video of the boat’s wake encouraging boaters to be aware of the wake.