Many of you might be aware of the current legislation regarding boat wakes that is currently in the process of being filed. The bill should be filed by Christmas where it will then go through a series of committees and approval before reaching the house floor. Read the proposed legislation by clicking here and please get involved in the conversation by participating in the comments and survey on the site. Well aware of the public concerns that have been voiced on both sides of the matter, we wanted to inform our customers and students of where we stand on the issue.

We recognize change may be necessary for the safety of everyone on the water; however we respectfully cannot support the current bill’s proposed solution. The proposed bill would limit watersports such as wakeboarding and wake surfing to parks and unpopulated areas of the lake only. These types of areas are very limited on the Ozarks. This would cause crowding in the coves that that are ridable, making the only waters wakeboarders and wakesurfers can ride in become un-ridable and unsafe.

We at Kirby’s School of Wake promote boater safety education including proper driving techniques, proper tie downs, safe navigating, regard for safe distances and no-wake zones, and respect of other boaters and properties. We love the lake. It is a fun place for lake-goers whether for watersports, cruising, fishing, anchoring, or relaxing and we strive to keep it a place for everyone to enjoy.

Much anger comes from a lack of understanding. We recognize that there are many who are opposed to the plow of large cruisers, but also the waves produced by wakeboarding vessels. We would like to promote increased knowledge about the sport of wakeboarding to the public to help them gain a better understanding and appreciation of the sport. Wakeboarding is something we are passionate about. It serves as a source of great fun, a challenge, exercise, a family experience, it builds community, and presents many opportunities to learn and grow in the sport and personally. These types of activities should be encouraged, and for that reason we have addressed some important aspects of the sport below.

Wakeboarding requires smooth, calm waters to have a consistent, safe wake whether for beginners or professionals. We actually prefer areas that prevent wave bounce back. This allows for good learning conditions and is for the safety of the rider or student as well. In wakeboarding, we run keyhole paths to ensure that we don’t wreck the whole cove with our waves. We outline more driving tips for wakeboarders, wake surfers, and other watersports in the video below. Wake surfing can be done in a lot rougher water conditions, but still should occur in an area that will not put the surfer in danger when they fall and become separated from their board.

To our fisherman friends: We realize that we tend to prefer similar conditions, and we strive to stay at our legal distance away from you. You are just trying to get calm, peaceful water, which is limited in the busyness of summer as I’m sure you are aware. We apologize if it comes off that we are being inconsiderate. Here are some important things to recognize about the sport of wakeboarding that may bring some reason to our rhyme. There are limited coves long enough to wakeboard in that have natural shorelines, so we tend to choose the longer coves of this nature. We aren’t picking on you and I assure you it’s nothing personal and we certainly mean no disrespect. Also, when pulling an advanced rider, it’s extremely important to keep a straight path. If there is a sudden turn or movement, the rope tension could change on the rider while in the air causing horrible injuries. It’s all about respect and it’s important that we share the waters so we can all enjoy what we are passionate about. If you come across someone who is unaware of good etiquette we encourage you to address him or her patiently and kindly, they probably simply weren’t aware of what they were doing.

To our lake friends coving out: Many times, boaters think they are out of the way in the back of coves, however, in the back of coves that have natural shorelines is where it is the most calm and safe for wakeboarders and other watersports. As you have read above, the conditions for wakeboarding can be limited on the Ozarks. We always enjoy friendly spectators; however, if you’d like a quiet peaceful evening or afternoon anchored out, there are multiple coves that we are unable to operate in that you might enjoy a bit more and prevent so much rocking of your vessel. We mean no ill intentions if we rock your boat from a safe distance while passing by or turning around. We apologize if we have caused any offense in this area. Coving out is a great time and also provides for a fun way to spend the day, swim, relax, and to make some awesome memories. Let’s help each other be able to make the most of our lake time!

There are actions to be taken to protect personal property and promote safety on the lake. This includes having informed property owners and educated, responsible boat operators. We challenge our students and readers to approach the issue with wisdom: to understand all considerations and sides of the issue and to handle the issue calmly, respectfully, and without offense. We encourage you to pursue educating yourselves or getting a refresher on proper etiquette and boater laws and to always be aware, respectful, and considerate of those around you on the water. We also encourage you get stay informed on issues such as these. Please help us to keep watersports a part of the lake by getting involved in the conversation and letting your voice be heard.

If you’d like to get involved, please join us in advocating boater safety and etiquette. You may also contact your local state representative or you can also express your concerns to Representative David Wood personally at 573-751-2077 or email at David.Woood@house.mo.gov.

Additional Resources:

Missouri Boating Laws