Friday, February 23, 2018

Brush Up on Missouri Boating Laws

With spring quickly approaching, now's the time to brush up on the Missouri boating laws. It's important that you know these laws to keep yourself and those around you safe while out on the water this coming season. Whether you're new to the boating world or you've been driving a boat for years, today's blog from Summerset Boat Lifts offers a quick overview of some of the laws you need to know.

1. Missouri Boating Education. 

Boating education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces. If you were born after January 1, 1984, you need a Missouri Boating Education card to operate a vessel on any Missouri lake. There is no minimum age requirement to take the online course and you do not have to be a Missouri resident to take the online course.

2. Operating a Vessel on Missouri Waters. 

All persons must be at least 14 years of age to legally operate a motorboat or PWC unless under the direct, onboard supervision of a parent, guardian or other person 16 years of age or older. Those who are required to have the education mentioned above must carry their Boating Education Card on board the vessel with them and have it available for inspection by law enforcement. Not carrying the card can result in a fine.

3. Titling and Registration. 

To legally operate your vessel on public waters in Missouri, you must register and title it. You have 60 days from the date of purchase to title your newly purchased boat, vessel or outboard motor. There is a penalty for not doing so. All motorized boats or vessels and any sailboats longer than 12 feet must be titled and registered. Once the boat is titled and registered, you will receive a "MO" number, decals and a pocket card. You must display the decals on the boat and keep the pocket card with you while boating. Your registration must be renewed every three years.

4. Dock Permits at Lake of the Ozarks. 

Missouri State Law, in conjunction with Ameren Missouri Guidelines, requires that all docks on the Lake of the Ozarks display a dock permit number and the 911 address of the property the dock is most adjacent to. This will not only assist those unfamiliar with their location on the lake, but will also assist 911 call centers in dispatching the appropriate first responders during an emergency situation.

5. Life Jackets On Board. 

Missouri law requires boaters to have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket on board and accessible for each occupant of the boat. Children under the age of seven are required to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat unless they are in the cabin area of a houseboat or cruiser. All personal watercraft users are required to wear life jackets anytime they are underway.

6. Navigation Light Requirements. 

Navigation lights are required to be displayed between sunset and sunrise, as well as during periods of restricted visibility. When underway, motorboats must have red and green sidelights visible from a distance of at least one mile away on a dark, clear night. An all-round white light or both a masthead light and a sternlight must be visible at least two miles away from all directions in a 360-degree circle. Unpowered vessels must have red and green side lights and a stern light visible from two miles away. If the unpowered vessel is less than 23 feet and those lights are not practical, you should have on hand at least one lantern or flashlight shining a white light. All vessels are required to use a white light visible from all directions when they are anchored or moored away from the dock.

7. Fire Extinguisher On Board. 

All vessels are required to have a Type B U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board if flammable or combustible materials are stored on board in closed storage compartments, the vessel has closed living spaces, there are permanently installed fuel tanks, and/or flammable or toxic fluids are on board. The fire extinguisher should be placed in an accessible area, not near the engine or in a compartment.

8. Dangerous Boat Operating Practices. 

According to Missouri law, the following boating practices are illegal: Reckless operation, including but not limited to, boating in restricted areas, disregard for posted speeds, ignoring wake restrictions, ignoring diver-down flags, boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and chasing, harassing or disturbing wildlife with your vessel; Overloading a vessel beyond the recommended capacity shown on the capacity plate installed by the vessel manufacturer; Allowing passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, seats on raised decks or any other place where there may be a chance of falling overboard is prohibited unless the vessel has adequate guards or a railing.

This is not an exhaustive list of the boating laws enforced in Missouri. For more information on Missouri Boating Laws, please visit:

Summerset Boat Lifts wants you to have a fun and safe time on the water this season. In addition to brushing up on the Missouri boating laws, it's important that you have your boat lift inspected to ensure it's working properly before the season gets underway. To schedule Lake of the Ozarks boat lift service, give us a call at 573-348-5073 today!
1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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