Boaters could see some navigational changes with additional no-wake restrictions on Lake of the Ozarks when the boating season gets underway in 2020.

Boaters could see some navigational changes with additional no-wake restrictions on Lake of the Ozarks when the boating season gets underway in 2020. 

The Missouri Highway Patrol Water Patrol Division is expected  to issue the first permits aimed at reducing wakes of bigger boats in smaller coves in March. Boaters can expect to see increased cove restrictions this summer. 

The Water Patrol Division is accepting applications for the limited no-wake cove rule that applies to 40’ boats and larger in coves where the waterway narrows to 800’ or less. The new rule is the result of legislation passed in 2018. Prior to the new rule, the law required coves to be 400” or less to be considered for no-wake designation. In order to issue the permits, residents in eligible coves will have to go through a petition process.

What the bill did was increase the number of coves eligible to be considered for no-wake designation, imposed a fine for violators and decreased the number of required signatures of property owners  within the cove. 

Water Patrol Division Director Capt. Matt Wlaz said the buoy application process and applications have been updated to accommodate the new rules.  

“The application can be found on the division’s website by navigating to the “buoy information” page. Applicants can print an application and mail it in with the required documents, or fill it out online and upload with the documents required for the permitting process. All deadlines for applications are listed on the website. Hearings for buoys on Lake of the Ozarks are held at the Osage Beach City Hall. 

We will begin hearing these applications at our March hearing,” he said. 

Walk said the Water Patrol Division has also developed a frequently asked questions document to explain the process and the rules on their website at There is also a frequently asked question document on the website that  provides specific information on the limited no-wake cove permits. 

Information is also available by email at or calling 1-573-751-5071.

In August of 2018, the law went into effect expanding what coves could be designated no-wake for larger boats in the lake.  The implementation of the new regulations was pending the creation of a state regulation to detail how the permits for the coves would be administered.  

The Water Patrol Division has been working on the implementation of the new regulations since it went into effect. No action could be taken on the new law until those state rules had been created and approved through the code of state regulations process. 

About the law:

House Bill 2116, introduced by Rep. Robert Ross (R-District 142), was passed by the Missouri House and Senate. The original bill was aimed at exempting certain types of vessels from provisions prohibiting passengers from riding in certain areas of a motorized boat. Specifically the exemption applied to certain vessels propelled by outboard jet motors operating on non-impounded waterways from the passenger seating, guard and rail provisions.

The legislation was amended to include portions of HB 1591, introduced by Rep. David Wood (R-District 58). The portions of Wood’s bill included in the amended version of HB 2116 reduce certain fines and address no wake provisions in certain coves for boats 40-foot long or larger.

What to know: 

•What is the limited no wake restriction?

In 2018, Missouri's legislature passed a law which allowed for coves under 800' in width to be restricted to no wake for vessels 40' and greater.  The law required a regulation, or rule, to be created by the Department of Public Safety to indicate how this limited no wake restriction would be implemented.

•Will any coves wider than 800' be granted the limited no wake status?

Coves or waterways greater than 800' in width may be designated as a limited no- wake area if the boating traffic in the area is disproportionate to areas of similar size on the same body of water.  Accident data justifying the implementation of a limited no wake area would also be a consideration.  

When will property owners be able to apply for the limited no wake restriction in their area?

Applications are available. The first public hearing regarding the limited no wake restrictions will be held on March 9, 2020, with a follow-up hearing to be held on May 11, 2020 in Osage Beach.  

How will limited no wake areas be marked for boaters?

Due to potential conflicts with traditional floating buoy markers, the limited no wake areas will be marked with signage placed on each side of the waterway on the docks or the shoreline. New maps will also be created.