QUESTION: The Osage Beach Fire Protection has taken an aggressive stance to help end the dock issues that we experienced at the lake this year. They are proposing changes to the dock permit process. The proposed change to this process would include: All docks involved in a transfer of ownership due to sale of real estate will be required to be inspected and brought into compliance prior to Ameren changing the dock permit into the new owner’s name. What do you think of this stance by the OBFPD?
Enforcement needs to be a lake-wide endeavor
Osage Beach Fire Protection District (OBFPD) has only 2,711 docks out of total of 24,359 lake wide, that's only 11%. OBFPD can take whatever aggressive stance it wants to take, but even 100% compliance with all those docks still leave 21,648 docks on the lake. Let’s just consider those 21,648 docks and who owns them. In the cove I live in there are approximately 60 docks. There are probably only about 20-25 full-timers. The state of upkeep I see on those vacation homes/docks, for the most part, leaves something to be desired. These part timers show up with family and friends, stop at the grocery/liquor store on the way in and just want to unwind and have a good time, which I understand. This is all fine and good until something happens like last year’s electrocutions. If enforcement isn't lake wide then as they say it isn't a matter of if but when another rash of deaths will occur. Just take a look at the conditions of many of the docks and how close they are together in many instances.
Our dock has been brought up to compliance with Ameren guidelines and has passed the SBFPD check. I feel very comfortable when my family and friends decide they want to go for a relaxing dip that they will not be put in jeopardy by faulty wiring on my dock. If something unforeseen should happen and electricity enters the water around my dock, the electricity will shut down. I check it monthly to make sure.
I have a recommendation for the City of Osage Beach. In my opinion, you have spent an inordinate amount of time and money working out solutions for businesses on Osage Beach Parkway regarding the new bypass. Just a heads up, Kansas City and St. Louis papers carried coverage of the electrocution deaths. It also made CNN and I even saw an article in a New York paper. The businesses on Osage Beach Parkway are complaining about losing business because no one seems to be able to find the right exit. We’ll see what happens when the frequency of stories about deaths due to dock electrocutions start filling the news in St. Louis and Kansas City. Then, families will start looking for safer places to take their families and the money they bring here also goes elsewhere. For OBFPD, the Lake Sun article on front page of Wednesday's paper at least led to a glimmer of hope for some help. The OBFPD Board of Directors isn't willing to wait to see if the state will get involved. That is a good thing because as some other OB city officials have found, working with the state for a solution to the bypass issue, seems to draw on and on and on.
Page 2 of 3 - P.S.- To the communities with no dock enforcement, you'd better have some alternative plans because what might affect OB negatively will also affect your community.
It's just common sense, if it's not safe, either get rid of it or fix it.
OBFPD idea is long overdue
I think this is an idea that's long overdue. There are a lot of docks that would not pass inspection. I'm a little surprised we don't have this on the books already. It won't change all the run-down docks but at least it will force those selling properties to bring them up to code. Why would anybody oppose this?
Proposal encourages dock owner responsibility
I wholeheartedly agree with this move by the Osage Beach Fire Protection District to help promote dock safety with regard to electrical matters.
Owning a dock on this lake is not a right but a privilege and dock owners should do what they can to protect both their families and those of neighbors who may be affected. I hope all neighboring districts will follow the OBFPD's lead. The only thing this move will do at the lake will be to encourage more responsible dock ownership and more than likely save lives. What's not to like about that!
Joyce Everhart Hoff
Doesn’t address immediate need to fix docks
While this is a notable effort, it does nothing to solve the problem near-term. It may be 50+ years before all of the docks that have issues are sold, transferred, moved, etc. There needs to be a mandatory inspection of all (ALL) docks, as soon as possible. For me, I spent a fortune on getting my dock overhauled to meet ‘code.’ In my mind this is a ridiculous set of rules mandated by some pencil pushing engineer somewhere that couldn’t get a real job.
While my dock was safe (as quoted by the electrical contractor who looked at it), on a GFI protected circuit, there were countless minor issues that wouldn’t pass ‘code’. In my opinion (and that’s the beauty of this page), there should be a little common sense used instead of just a whole bunch of pointy headed rules that someone dreamed up. Who in their right mind could conceive of driving an 8 foot. copper rod down into the ground (rock?) that 90+% of the shoreline is comprised of?
Page 3 of 3 - And while I’m not in Osage Beach, I can’t seem to get a Fire Department Inspector to come out and look at mine. I’d like to be 100% certain that nothing was overlooked in the redo of my dock. Three calls and no one has taken an interest. So, what’s the point?