Friday, March 31, 2017

Missouri Boating Laws Refresher

Boating season is just around the corner and soon the Lake of the Ozarks will busy with boats. For your own safety and the safety of others, it's important that you follow the laws in place in Missouri. Whether you're new to boating on Missouri waters or you just need a refresher, today's blog from Summerset Boat Lifts offers a few of the important laws to keep in mind this boating season.

Missouri Boating Laws 

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

2. The Boater Education Card law only applies to Missouri lakes. It currently excludes rivers, streams and private waters. However, for your own safety, it is recommended that you take a boater education course prior to operating any vessel on the water. 

3. To legally operate a motorboat or PWC in Missouri, you must be at least 14 years of age. If you are not 14 years of age or older, you must be under the direct, onboard supervision of a parent, guardian or other person 16 years of age or older.

4. Vessel operators who are required to have a Boater Education Card (born after January 1, 1984) must carry the card on board the vessel and have it available for inspection by an enforcement officer. Not carrying the card can result in a fine.

5. To legally operate your vessel on public waters in Missouri, you must register and title your vessel. You must obtain a Missouri Certificate of Number and validation decals. Exceptions to this law include non-motorized vessels, sailboats 12 feet or less in length, vessels registered in other states using Missouri waters for 60 consecutive days or less.

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6. According to Missouri law, all vessels 16 feet in length or longer must carry one wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD, personal flotation device (life jacket) for each person on board or being towed. Vessels less than 16 feet in length must carry one wearable OR throwable PFD for each person. They must also be readily accessible. Under federal law, however, a wearable PFD is required for each person on board regardless of vessel length.

7. Children under the age of 7 must WEAR a life jacket at all times while on board any vessel, unless the child is confined in a totally enclosed area of the vessel, such as the cabin area of a houseboat or day cruiser. Each person riding a PWC must wear a life jacket as well, no matter the age.

8. Between sunset and sunrise, as well as during periods of restricted visibility, you must display required navigation lights. Motorboats when underway must have red and green sidelights visible from a disatance 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.

9. All vessels are required to have a Type B U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board if one or more of the following conditions exist:
  • flammable or combustible materials are stored on board in closed storage compartments
  • the vessel has closed living spaces
  • there are permanently installed fuel tanks 
  • 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. 

10. All vessels operating on Missouri state waters that are more than 16 feet but less than 40 feet in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn to make an efficient sound to signal intentions or positions. Vessels that are 40 feet or more in length are required to carry on board a whistle or horn AND a bell.

11. State law requires that scuba divers or snorkelers display the diver-down flag to mark the diving area. Divers must stay within a 50-yard radius of the flag. Vessel operators must mot operate within 50 yards of a displayed diver-down flag. A "skier-down" flag is required equipment for a motorboat (other than a PWC) towing a person behind on water skis, an inner tube, sled or similar device. The flag is to be displayed when the person is in the water before or after being towed, or when the swimmer leaves the confines of the vessel. Displaying the flag is required from 11 am to sunset and if effective on the Mississippi River and Missouri River, as well as all Missouri lakes.

12. Missouri law designates the following dangerous operating practices as 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. 

13. Missouri law prohibits the discharge of any sewage, treated or untreated, into the state's freshwaters. It is also illegal to dump refuse, garbage or plastics into federally controlled and state waters. 

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

Summerset Boat Lifts hopes you have a safe and fun boating season! For all your Lake of the Ozarks boat lifts needs, keep us in mind. Our new lift sales are complimented by pre-owned sales and servicing of many different brands of lifts. Need a boat lift or have a problem with your current one? Give the best boat lift company at the Lake of the Ozarks a call at 573-348-5073.

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

5 Reasons Boats Often Sink in the Spring

Spring has sprung and the thought on everyone's mind is that boating season is quickly approaching! One thing that could quickly put a damper on your fun this spring, is finding out your boat has sunk. Not only would you have to deal with an insurance claim, but you would also have to wait for your boat to be fixed. In today's blog, Summerset Boat Lifts discusses some reasons why boats often sink in the springtime.

Common Reasons Boats Sink

1. Loose Hose - One of the most common reasons why boats sink in the spring is due to a hose issue. It is possible that when the hose was taken off to winterize the engine, the hose clamp was overlooked. A poorly attached hose can easily be lifted off the seacock as water freezes and expands inside. As long as the water remains frozen, the boat is fine. However, in the spring when that ice begins to melt, the boat can sink.

2. Unattended to Leaks - Due to the automatic bilge pump keeping the bilge dry during the warmer months, leaks can go unnoticed. Over the winter though, the battery, and therefore the bilge pump, may go dead. With the pump not working, water can begin to accumulate.

3. Heavy Rains - Heavy spring rains can cause water to seep in through poorly caulked ports, hatches, chainplates and deck fittings. If scuppers become clogged by leaves and other debris, water can pool on the deck. In many cases, boats with a low freeboard only need to sink a few inches before outlets become inlets.

4. Broken Sea Strainer - When water is left in the intake sea strainer, it can freeze and break the bowl. If the seacock is open, the boat will sink as soon as the ice thaws. Even if the seacock was closed, if you open it in the spring and then leave the boat in the slip, it could sink.

5. Loose Stuffing Box - If a stuffing box isn't tightened before the boat is left for the winter, even a small steady drip can eventually swamp a boat. While this could happen over the summer as well, it's more likely during winter and early spring as you're less likely to regularly check on your boat during that time.

Lessons Learned 

Regardless of the season, be sure to routinely check on your boat. When spring rolls around, be sure to thoroughly check your boat for any issues that may have arisen over the winter. has a great Spring Fitting-Out Checklist that you can follow. It only takes an hour or two to ensure peace of mind that everything on your boat is in tip-top shape for the boating season ahead! 

To further ensure your boat doesn't sink, invest in a Galva-Hoist boat lift at the Lake of the Ozarks. By lifting your boat up out of the water for the winter, you can decrease the likelihood of a variety of different issues, including a sinking boat. If you're in need of a new boat lift, contact your premier boat lift dealer at the Lake of the Ozarks, Summerset Boat Lifts at 573-348-5073 today. For those of you that already own a lift, be sure to schedule your spring boat lift maintenance before hitting the water for boating season! We're here to make sure your boat lift is working properly, and doing it's job of protecting your boat.

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Tips for De-Winterizing Your Boat and Preparing for Spring

The first day of spring is just a couple weeks away! Now's the time to start thinking about de-winterizing your boat for the season. After sitting on your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift all winter, your boat will need to be looked over. The boat, the lift and the dock should all be inspected to ensure everything is in proper working order. Your favorite boat lift dealer at the Lake of the Ozarks has created a list of tips for de-winterizing your boat and preparing for the spring season.

1. Look for Noticeable Damage.

While we had a rather mild winter at the Lake of the Ozarks this year, we did get a few storms. One of the first things you'll want to do when preparing for the spring boating season is to check the dock, lift and boat for any damage. Did the wind blow debris onto your dock? Did ice formations create any issues? You want to make sure the dock is safe to use before family and friends get on it. You also want to make sure the lift is working properly and that there's no damage to your boat.

2. Schedule an Electrical Inspection for Your Dock. 

Electricity and water don't mix. That's why it's important for you to have your dock inspected to make sure all the electrical wires, outlets, etc. are in proper working order after sitting all winter. Some dock companies even offer free inspections to ensure the safety of you, your family and your guests. 

3. Clean the Entire Boat. 

By starting with cleaning your boat, you'll be able to find any problematic areas. Using a mild detergent, do a general cleaning of the hull, deck and topsides. Make sure the drains and scuppers are clear. Clean teak and oil, windows and hatches, canvas, bimini and dodger, and the interior, including bilges. You should also check and replace wiper blades if necessary. While you are cleaning, check for abrasions, scratches, gouges, etc and make any necessary repairs. Check for blisters and refinish the boat if needed.

4. Check All Important Components. 

There are many parts of a boat that work together to keep it operating properly. Check your boat thoroughly, but pay special attention to these areas:
  • Check the Engine - You may have changed the oil in your boat at the end of last season. If not, you'll want to do that before taking your boat out for the first time this spring. You'll also want to replace the oil filter. Consider adding an oil additive to keep your engine clean and corrosion free. 
  • Check the Cooling System - Before winter arrived, you should have drained the cooling system to avoid freezing. Even so, be sure to check hoses for any cracks or breaks. If you have an outboard engine that uses an impeller cooling system, make sure that the rubber impeller is not cracked. If all looks good, fill everything back up so you're ready to go!
  • Check all Fluid Levels - Be sure to check any and all fluids including the engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant.
  • Check the Battery - Test your battery to check the amps and volts. If you're battery isn't able to hold a charge, you'll need to purchase a new one. If it does hold a charge, make sure to clean the terminals of any corrosion and you're ready to roll - or well float. Inspect all electrical connections for clean, tight, corrosion free connections. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a professional.
  • Check the Distributor - During the winter months, the distributor can become corroded. To clean the distributor, you'll need to take its cap off. Once you're done cleaning, make sure the connections are tightly hooked back up.  
  • Check Belts, Cables and Hoses - If any belts seem loose or worn, they need to be changed before firing up the boat for the season. To test the belts, push down lightly; any significant movement represents the need for replacement. Another sign to look for is black soot near the pulley. The alternator belt can wear faster than the others, so pay particular attention to it. 
  • Check the Fuel System -  While you hopefully filled the tank up before winter to avoid moisture from forming inside, you'll want to ensure the fuel filter gets changed. You also want to check the fuel line, as cooler winter temperatures can easily cause them to crack. If you did not use an additive in your gas to prevent water contamination and/or fuel separation, drain the gas from the fuel tank, as it is probably stale.

5. Schedule Spring Maintenance with Summerset Boat Lifts.  

After sitting untouched all winter, your boat isn't the only thing that needs looked over. The changes in temperature and weather can also affect your boat lift. Before using it this season, have Summerset Boat Lifts come out and take a look at it. We will inspect your lift and replace bushings, nuts, bolts and hoses as needed. We'll ensure your boat lift is working properly and is ready for a great season ahead!

At Summerset Boat Lifts, we pride ourselves in service, and it’s what sets us apart from everyone else! We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift needs are being handled by professionals. Summerset’s record of service after the sale is unparalleled in the boat lift industry. We don’t just sell you a lift, we sell you our service. Give us a call at 573-348-5073 for all your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift maintenance needs!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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Thursday, March 2, 2017

3 Reasons You Need to Attend a Boat Show This Year!

ATTENTION ALL BOATING ENTHUSIASTS! Summer 2017 is bringing some of the best boat shows in Missouri you don't want to miss. Whether you already have a boat, are considering buying one, or are just in the market for boat and dock accessories in the Lake of the Ozarks, Summerset Boat Lifts gives 3 great reasons why you need to check out this year's boat shows.

Who Doesn't Want to Save Money?

Boat and accessory dealers have a lot of competition at these shows, so they'll be geared up to provide the best deals they can to get your business. Having multiple dealers in one place allows you to shop smart and be able to talk options and pricing. You'll also save money by being educated on the products so you can make the best purchase for your needs. Boat shows are also a great way to learn about important information such as where to go for boat lift services in the Lake of the Ozarks. Many service providers set up booths at these events too, so it's a great way to shop services you'll need after you buy.

Knowledge is Power

Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned vet when it comes to boats, there's always something new to learn. What better place to get that experience and knowledge than where the boating gurus go? Boat shows aren't just for looking at the pretty boats. They are a great opportunity to see not only the newest and best products out there. They're also a good way to see demonstrations on tricky processes and get hands on education for easier and safer boating basics to make you feel more comfortable on your boat.

Get the Family Involved in Your Hobby!

What better way to introduce your family to your boating hobby than bringing them along to check
out the big boats! Don't worry about finding a sitter. Most vendors know that having kid-friendly exhibits create more opportunity for families to attend. There are free samples, contests, and learning demonstrations for guests to partake in. Your family will thoroughly enjoy checking out the cool boats and getting educated on the hows and whys of boating safety and etiquette.

There are so many great reasons to attend boat shows. Boat shows are great for anyone in the market for a new boat or boat accessories, or for anyone just looking to expand or share their wealth of knowledge in boating. Attending a boat show is the perfect way to see if the boating lifestyle fits you and test the waters, or to expand your network by meeting other people with similar interests. In the market for a new boat lift or have questions about your current lift? Summerset Boat Lifts will be attending some of the upcoming boat shows. Stop by our booth to check out the best boat lifts at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our service is unparalleled in the boat lift industry!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065
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