The Missouri Highway Patrol Marine Division will be out in full force with a strong presence on Lake of the Ozarks this weekend to monitor traffic and boating safety as the Lake of the Ozarks annual Shootout gets underway.

The Missouri Highway Patrol Marine Division will be out in full force with a strong presence on Lake of the Ozarks this weekend to monitor traffic and boating safety as the Lake of the Ozarks annual Shootout gets underway.

Officers will be focusing their attention on areas that are restricted during and after the Saturday race. The no-wake restriction for the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout event includes the main channel from the 31.5-mile mark to the 36-mile mark.

The no-wake restriction that includes the main channel from the 31.5-mile marker to the 26-mile marker will be in force for both days of the event on August 25 and again, on August 26.

Due to the number of boaters expected at the event, additional navigational restrictions will be in place on Saturday, August 25, only. An extended idle speed area will be in effect from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will include the main channel from the 31.5-mile mark downstream to approximately the 21-mile mark. The extended idle speed area is in addition to the no wake restriction implemented for the event itself.

“We will have a total of 16 officers assigned to the event this weekend.  The restrictions require significant manpower to enforce in addition to cooperation from boaters exiting the event,” Capt. Matt Walz said.”

In order to be able to permit the Shootout boat race, we must be able to maintain a safe environment as boaters leave the event.”  Walz said officers will ask boaters to pull up anchor at the conclusion of the event on Saturday. 

“We anticipate boaters will be cooperative and no enforcement action will be necessary.  Issuing a citation to a boater under these circumstances is always a last resort, but it is an option,” he said.  

Walz encourages boaters to use caution this weekend due to the amount of congestion on the lake.  Maintaining a safe distance from other boats and adjusting speed based on the conditions will improve reaction time and ability to deal with unexpected circumstances on the water. 

“Wearing life jackets is always safer, but if not worn, life jackets should be readily accessible for occupants of the vessel,” he said. “Night time navigation is particularly dangerous on such a busy weekend, so navigation lights are crucial. A designated sober captain who is alert to these conditions is a must.”

Navigational restrictions announced earlier this year had previously placed the time of the extended idle speed area as noon to 8 p.m. Last year, it only went until 5:30 p.m. Walz said based on experience with the Shootout, approximately 90 percent of the boats attending the event travel downstream when exiting the area. Several thousand boats were in attendance last year, with some estimates as high as 5,000 spectator boats attending.

The event draws thousands to Captain Ron’s at the 34-mile marker area of the main channel of the Lake. The venue has hosted the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout for the past decade.

This year the Shootout celebrates its 30th anniversary.It is the largest unsanctioned boat race in the country. The Shootout had similar restrictions in place last year, but issues with boat wakes created by spectators leaving the event at the end of the no-wake period prompted the MSHP to extend the no-wake period later in the day for this year’s event.