Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens took action of Senate Bill 65 on Friday, July 14, 2017, issuing a veto on the legislation, according to a press release from his office.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens took action of Senate Bill 65 on Friday, July 14, 2017, vetoing the legislation, according to a press release from his office.

"SB 65 would have allowed passengers to ride on the bow and gunwales of boats with outboard jet motors and boats that were not originally manufactured with adequate guards or railings. The Governor vetoed this bill after conversations with law enforcement officers who expressed serious concerns that removing these safety measures would cause a spike in injuries and deaths on larger waterways with more boats and more dangerous water conditions. The full veto letter can be read here: https://governor.mo.gov/sites/governor/files/legislative_actions/veto_letters/SB%2065%20Veto%202017.pdf"

Among the bills waiting for Gov. Eric Greiten’s signature is a piece of legislation that managed to quietly make its way through the Missouri House and Senate without any debate or opposition that we can find.

We are dumbfounded at how that happened with so much attention focused on boating safety, especially here at Lake of the Ozarks where boating accidents are under constant scrutiny and discussions about wakes garner widespread attention.

It leaves us bewildered trying to determine how this particular piece of legislation — Senate Bill 65 — is among the stack of those waiting for a decision by the governor as the deadline for signing bills quickly approaches.

Senate Bill 65 lifts restrictions currently in place that prohibit riders from sitting on the bow and other dangerous places on boats without adequate railings or guards on boats. Current statute requires railings or guards to be at least 6 inches but no more than 18 inches to prevent passengers from being thrown overboard.

In our view, it’s a pretty common sense rule. In fact, we agree with retired Missouri Highway Patrol Water Patrol Division officer Mark Richerson who said the proposed legislation is a public safety hazard. Lifting the restriction is a bad idea.

Falls from boats is one of the leading causes of injury and death on waterways across the country. It is also one of the most common enforcement tools on Lake of the Ozarks and can lead to arrests of impaired drivers who disregard their passengers’ safety.

If signed, bow and gunnel riding will become more commonplace on the Lake and other Missouri waterways. That should concern anyone with an interest in boating safety, including the governor.

We can only hope that in the last minute rush to sign legislation that this one is sent back with a resounding veto.