On any given weekend during the season, tens of thousands of boats will be on the water here at Lake of the Ozarks.

In 2018, 16 people were killed in boating related fatalities on Missouri waterways and another 34 drowned. Many of those preventable if a few simple rules had been followed. Don’t drink and drive and always wear a life jacket. Ask an experienced captain for advice and they will say the keys to safe boating is preparation and following the rules of the waterway. 

This weekend, the Missouri Highway Patrol Water Patrol Division will kick-off National Safe Boating Week. While Memorial Day is considered the official start of the summer boating season, boating safety and enforcement agencies across the country designate the week prior to the holiday as safe boating week to emphasize boating safety and related issues.

MSHP Water Patrol Division Director Matt Walz said it takes the entire boating community to keep Lake of the Ozark safe during the busy boating season.  

“It’s important that boaters use caution, be patient and operate courteously while navigating the lake.  Each boat captain has the responsibility of keeping their own passengers safe, but also must avoid endangering other boaters or property,” he said. 

On any given weekend during the season, tens of thousands of boats will be on the water here at Lake of the Ozarks.

Boaters can start the season off with an inspection on Lake of the Ozarks this weekend. On Saturday, May 18, the water patrol division will have officers on hand at 2 locations. From 9 am to noon at lake of the Ozarks State Park at Public Beach #2 in Osage Beach off the Osage Beach Parkway. The patrol’s marine operations troopers will be available to inspect the required equipment on your boat, at your request, to make sure you’re in compliance with state law.

Joining the water patrol division and other boating agencies in promoting boating safety  is the Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Council.

“The Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Council would like to remind everyone to wear their life jackets and designate a captain while boating on the Lake of the Ozarks,” President Rebecca Rupard said. “We want everyone to enjoy all that the Lake has to offer while making lifetime memories.” 

The Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Council was formed in 2007 with the mission of promoting water safety here at Lake of the Ozarks. Specifically, the council promotes wearing life jackets and designating captains. 

Members of the safety committee are involved in teaching water safety lessons in the lake schools. Reaching children at a young age and reinforcing the importance of responsibility around the water is part of the committee’s mission. 

In an effort to promote water safety at the lake, the water safety council will continue their campaign this summer to encourage boaters to designate a captain and promote the use of lifejackets.