May 6, 2023

Colonel Eric T. Olson, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to stress the importance of safe boating and make the public aware of National Safe Boating Week, which takes place May 20-26, 2023. National Safe Boating Week is purposefully scheduled just prior to Memorial Day weekend, which many people consider the kickoff to the boating season.

Boaters are encouraged to make time for a thorough inspection of their boat prior to taking it out on the water this boating season. Weather, time, and other elements may affect the readiness of your boat. The Patrol’s marine operations troopers are available to inspect the required equipment on your boat, at your request, to make sure you’re in compliance with state law. To help facilitate these inspections, marine operations troopers will be at the following locations on Saturday, May 20, 2023 (unless otherwise noted):

Truman Lake – 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Harry S. Truman Project Office, 15968 Truman Road (on the west side of Truman Dam), Warsaw, MO
Longview Lake Marina – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 9898 Longview Road, Kansas City, MO
Smithville Lake – 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Camp Branch Marina Boat Ramp, 17201 Paradesian Street, Smithville, MO

Mark Twain Lake – 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Ray Behrens Boat Ramp, 42991 Ray Behrens, Perry, MO

Troop C Headquarters – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., 891 Technology Drive, Weldon Spring, MO

Stockton Lake – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., State Park Marina Boat Ramp, 19100 South Highway 215 (then follow signs to marina), Dadeville, MO
Pomme de Terre Lake – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Hermitage Boat Ramp, 23697 County Road 218, Hermitage, MO
Table Rock Lake – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., State Park Marina Boat Ramp, 380 State Park Marina Road, Branson, MO
Elk River – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Cowskin Access, Missouri Highway 43 and Langley Road, McDonald County

Wappapello Lake – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Redman Recreational Area Boat Ramp, Missouri Route T, Wappapello, MO

Lake of the Ozarks State Park Public Beach #2 – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Old U.S. Highway 54, Osage Beach, MO
Missouri River – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Noren River Access, Jefferson City, MO

Bull Shoals Lake – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Theodosia Marina Boat Ramp, 509 L.B. Cook Memorial Drive, Theodosia, MO

Big Lake State Park – 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Boat Ramp, 7181, 204 Lake Shore Drive, Craig, MO 64437
Missouri River – May 5, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Buchannan County at French Bottom river ramp, End of McArthur Drive, St. Joseph, MO

Gasconade River – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Hazelgreen Conservation Access, South Service Road, Richland, MO

Additional information on equipment inspection stations may be obtained from your local troop headquarters.

In addition to an inspection, boaters should familiarize themselves with Missouri laws regarding boat operation and traditional navigational rules. Missouri law requires everyone born after January 1, 1984, who operates a vessel on Missouri lakes to possess an approved boating safety identification card. This includes those operating a personal watercraft. When boaters understand and obey the law, and vessels are in good operating order, everyone’s experience becomes safer.

A life jacket for everyone on board is a must! Children under seven years old are required to wear a personal flotation device while in a boat, but you are never too old to wear a life jacket! Although not required by law, children playing along the shoreline or on a dock should wear a life jacket. A drowning can occur quickly, with little or no sign the victim is struggling. Life jackets save lives, please wear yours!

It is important for each boat operator to know the capabilities of their boat. Reducing your speed in unfamiliar areas and being aware of unusual water conditions respective to the size and type of boat you operate are just a couple of environmental considerations.

Extended time in the sun and the constant motion of the water effects every vessel operator. It’s important to recognize the dangers of boater fatigue. Stay alert while enjoying Missouri’s lakes and rivers. Additionally, if you combine alcohol with boater fatigue your reaction time and thought process will be much slower. Designate a sober captain if you choose to consume alcohol.

Additional safe boating tips:
1) Be a defensive boat operator…creating distance from other boats gives you more reaction time.
2) Adjust your speed for the conditions…if visibility is poor, or the water is rough, slow down!
3) Turn off the boat while passengers are entering/exiting the water.
4) If you will be out on the water after dark, check your navigation lights before you leave the dock or ramp.
5) Each boat operator is responsible for doing whatever they can to avoid a crash. Don’t expect other boats to move out of your way.
6) Be courteous with your wake.

Boaters are reminded to contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol by dialing *55 on a cellular phone if they need assistance or observe another boater operating a vessel in an unsafe manner.

Watercraft operators must consider the effect their actions have on others: Share the waterway and use common sense, good judgment, and courtesy to ensure the safety of all. Life jackets save lives. Wear It!!

Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter for the most current news @MSHPTrooperGHQ.