As the weather brightens up, a lot more people are going to be on the waters of Lake of the Ozarks. There’ll be people who enjoy fishing, those that want to soak up the sun and others who want to test out their new boats or personal watercraft (PWC). No matter what you plan on doing, you want to be safe doing it.
New and old boaters need to be aware that the lake isn’t lawless. In other words, there are safety regulations that every boater needs to know for their own protection — and the protection of others. An accident caused by a boat could be just as dangerous, if not worse, than a car accident.
One danger that people often suffer from is speeding boaters. As mentioned above, just like road regulations, boaters have to understand that there’s a certain speed limit that they can’t exceed without putting others in danger. Here are two common ways that boaters seem to forget about safety:
Ignoring idle speed, no wake zones
Across the water of Lake of the Ozarks, there are markers that indicate that boaters must drive at idle speed. Idle speed means that a boat must travel at a minimum of 5 mph, just enough to maneuver the vessel. Boaters will typically see these signs around docks, but they also have to maintain this speed around occupied or anchored vessels and buoyed areas following Missouri boating laws.
Your boat or PWC produces V-shaped wakes in the water as it travels at various speeds. Boaters have to be aware that it’s illegal to create wakes within 50 feet of any other vessel, PWC or person in the water.
Some boaters may believe that boating laws only apply during the day. However, the law doesn’t sleep. Boaters have to stay within a 30 mph speed limit at nighttime, which begins half an hour after sunset and continues through one hour before sunrise.
While you may adhere to boating laws, others may not. You may end up in an accident with a speeding boater. Speeding boaters who cause accidents may be held liable for your injuries and other losses.