Like Tree0Likes

bad press for loto

Reply
Old 07-09-2006, 12:10 PM
  #1
Steve_H
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default bad press for loto

Posted on Sun, Jul. 09, 2006


LAKE OF THE OZARKS | Third in mishaps among U.S. waterways
A perilous place to play, navigate
It poses challenges to safety with a long and narrow profile, heavy development, a partying crowd, and a thin law-enforcement presence.
By MIKE SHERRY
The Kansas City Star

The Lake of the Ozarks shimmers as one of Missouri’s recreational jewels, but something else lurks below the surface: its status as the third-most accident-prone waterway in the country.

The lake’s more than 1,300 serious mishaps trail only the Atlantic Ocean and the Colorado River, according to a decade’s worth of U.S. Coast Guard computer data analyzed by The Kansas City Star. Not even such expansive areas as the Pacific Coast and Lake Erie matched the lake’s total.

Lake of the Ozarks also accounted for half of all serious accidents in Missouri, a big reason the state ranked sixth overall.

The situation is far different in Kansas, which logged about one-fifth as many serious accidents as Missouri — putting it in the bottom third of states, according to the Coast Guard data from 1995 through 2004.

Accidents included in the database involved deaths, substantial property damage or other significant circumstances, such as injuries requiring more than first aid.

With boater-education efforts increasing and better vessels, experts said safety is improving on the nation’s waterways. Boating deaths nationally hit a record low two years ago.

Yet few bodies of water pose challenges like those at Lake of the Ozarks. It is long and narrow with a heavily developed shoreline, a partying crowd, and a law-enforcement presence stretched thin.

“People don’t know what rough water is until they come here — including the ocean,” said Maj. Tommy Roam, a commander with the Missouri State Water Patrol. “There is just nothing like it anywhere.”

A question of balance

This year marks three-quarters of a century since completion of Bagnell Dam paved the way for creation of the Lake of the Ozarks. Today, the lake’s roughly 1,150-mile shoreline boasts about 25,000 docks, creating a tough balancing act between business, pleasure and safety. It’s all happening against a backdrop of tremendous economic growth, fueled by the lake’s popularity.

Camden County, home to most of the lake’s shoreline, experienced a 17 percent increase in assessed personal-property values from 2004 to 2005. The total assessed value of property in Camden County hit about $1.2 billion last year, roughly three times more than in 1990. Rapid development has outstripped the ability of local jurisdictions to control it, according to some observers, who also said planning and zoning efforts were beginning to catch up.

AmerenUE, the electric utility that owns and operates Bagnell Dam, also plays a role through its authority to approve docks and other shoreline structures.

Earlier this year, it learned how difficult it was to limit growth. A firestorm of opposition prompted the utility to abandon a plan to limit docks along a portion of the lake, proposed as an effort to protect fish and wildlife habitat.

The utility promotes safe use of the lake, said Jeff Green, AmerenUE’s shoreline manager for Lake of the Ozarks. But AmerenUE views development as a way to add customers, he said. “Growth is good. That is our position.”

The big question for people like Ken Fults, though, is at what point does the lake become overdeveloped? “There’s still room to expand,” said Fults, owner of WFO Watercraft Rental, “but it’s got to reach a saturation point sometime.”

Traffic nightmare

Development has given rise to well-documented growing pains.With more and more boats of ever-increasing length, operating on Lake of the Ozarks has drawn comparisons to merging into rush-hour traffic on an expressway. The congestion often leaves the lake choppy.

The lake’s infamous Party Cove — where upward of 1,000 boats sometimes gather — has garnered national attention for its mix of alcohol and nudity.

Topography contributes to the problem. The lake’s main channel runs some 92 miles but averages only three-quarters of a mile wide. Waves tend to bounce from side to side with little dissipation, though the Water Patrol has had some success in recent years by creating “no-wake zones.”

Also, the number of bars and restaurants on the water promote boat traffic, said Sgt. Nick Humphrey of the Water Patrol. At other lakes, he said, people have to get off the water for those services.

Lake of the Ozarks supporters bristle at the out-of-control reputation, noting that the “busy part” of the lake stretches only the first 40 miles or so. They also point out that the lake is much calmer outside summer weekends and holidays.

Yet those hectic periods catch the attention of people like Ruth Zeller, owner of Cutty’s Wharf, which rents boats and personal watercraft. “A lot of people get the concept that they’re on the water and anything goes,” she said.

The number of boats at the lake is hard to come by, not tracked by the Water Patrol, tourism officials or AmerenUE. But, in roughly the past decade, boat registrations in Missouri have jumped about 17 percent to about 337,000.

Water Patrol numbers have advanced, as well. State legislators last year added 11 positions. The Water Patrol assigned about half of those to police increasingly popular float streams.

The manpower boost brought the number of uniformed officers to 99. However, that figure is far below the number recommended by a governor-appointed commission in 1984. At that time, said Roam, the Water Patrol commander, the commission suggested 126 uniformed officers.

About 20 percent of today’s uniformed officers are assigned to Lake of the Ozarks, Roam said, enough to have a visible presence. Might it make sense to have half the force there if that is where half the serious accidents occur?

That would be unrealistic given the amount of water the agency patrols around the state, said Capt. Hans E. Huenink, Water Patrol communications director. “You just do the best you can with the numbers you have.”

Personal toll

The Man of Steel — that’s what attorney McCaine J. Zimmer, 31, of Arnold, Mo., called himself. But on the Fourth of July last year, he became one of 39 boating fatalities logged at Lake of the Ozarks between 1995 and 2005, according to Water Patrol figures.

Zimmer and a friend were celebrating the purchase of a lake house from Kurt Breeze, one of Zimmer’s law partners. Two Kawasaki Jet Skis were part of the deal, and the two friends were riding them about 7 p.m. A Water Patrol accident report said Zimmer was in the lead when he turned left, apparently to avoid an oncoming boat. The trailing Jet Ski rammed into him.

Before the accident, Breeze said, Zimmer was “healthy, strong, and robust, and bigger than life.” In death, he left an infant son and a wife. A family friend said Zimmer’s wife was still too devastated to discuss the accident.

The Strain family of St. Joseph also knows the trauma of dealing with a boat accident, following the September death of their son and brother, Zachary, 22.

With no navigation lights, he and two other young men were riding personal watercraft in a Lake of the Ozarks cove about 2 a.m. Strain and a friend left the cove on a Sea-doo and then turned to come back. Meanwhile, the other man was coming out. With Strain doing about 50 mph, the watercraft collided.

The loss of her son remains too painful for his mother to talk about, but Salli Strain responded to questions through an e-mail. “There is no way to describe how this loss has affected us,” Salli Strain wrote. “… I see no hope for myself for recovering from this.”

In pursuit of safety

No shortage of ideas exists on how to make the lake safer, though boating-safety experts said some initiatives already have reduced injuries and deaths locally and nationally.

People like Zeller, the Cutty’s Wharf owner, said restricting boat lengths would help. Fults, the watercraft rental owner, said wakes from big boats were so large that people on personal watercraft sometimes got hurt while trying to cross them.

Other suggestions from lake-goers include imposing a weekend speed limit.

But blanket restrictions don’t sit well with Andy Kellogg of St. Charles, a regular visitor to the lake. Instead, he said, authorities should crack down on repeat offenders. Ban them if necessary. “Don’t spoil it for everybody else.”

Meanwhile, equipment improvements already are helping.

Some hulls, for instance, now are filled with foam to prevent capsized boats from sinking, and more vessels come with built-in fire extinguishers. In addition, life jackets have been slimmed down to encourage their use.

Water Patrol Officer Kimberly D. Davis, who patrols Smithville Lake and teaches a boating-safety course, said some personal watercraft now carry mechanisms that can limit maximum speed — allowing, for instance, parents to control how fast their children travel.

Davis and others also said boater education would reduce accidents.

Forty-five states — including Missouri and Kansas — have a mandatory boater-education requirement, according to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

The Missouri law, which took effect last year, says that boat drivers born after Jan. 1, 1984, must pass an approved safety course. The law applies to out-of-state residents, too.

Kansas has had a similar law since 2000. It covers people born after Jan. 1, 1989, but does not apply to drivers who are 21 or older.

Officials in both states said officers did not check boaters for proof that they passed an education course unless they first were stopped for another reason. Rental operators are not required to check customers for a boater-education card.

The Missouri law is one reason about 20 people settled in on a recent Saturday morning in Kansas City, North. For the next five hours, Davis led them through a safety course that included everything from fueling procedures to yielding the right of way.

It ended with a 50-question, multiple-choice exam. Passage required answering 70 percent correctly.

Among the attendees was Joshua Sinnett, 14, of Parkville, who came with his family and neighbors. “It was pretty informative,” he said. “I’m glad I took it.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Where are the most accident-prone and clogged sections of the Lake of the Ozarks? | A10


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How dangerous?

A list of the top accident- prone bodies of water in the nation, with accidents from 1995 to 2004.

Atlantic Ocean

1,624

Colorado River

1,365

Lake of the Ozarks

1,324

Gulf of Mexico

1,271

Intracoastal Waterway

1,092

Note: Rankings could change somewhat because some waterways have multiple entries with various spellings. The Star has combined some entries where it is clear that the various spellings refer to the same body of water.
Attached Thumbnails
bad press for loto-roughwater.jpg  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 12:16 PM
  #2
A to Z
Platinum Member
 
Sean H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KC/LOTO
Posts: 9,156
Default Re: bad press for loto

why is that "bad press"? isn't it all true? so they said its rough and dangerous, who thinks it isn't that has been there? maybe that article will help keep some people from letting their 14 year olds out in the main channel with lake lice, probably not, but we can hope..
Attached Thumbnails
bad press for loto-t_2005_0827_162231aa__small__719.jpg   bad press for loto-t_2005_0827_162424aa__small__213.jpg   bad press for loto-t_2005_0827_162318aa__small__523.jpg  

Sean H is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 03:03 PM
  #3
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: st. louis,mo.
Posts: 1,647
Default Re: bad press for loto

Its called, use some common sense, yes alot of boats, stupid water conditions, which come mostly by the 54' searays, not performance boats or high speeds, the pwc traffic has gotten out of control and should be confined after 10:00 am to non main channel riding.people keep coming and it keeps growing unbelievable, so just get a bigger boat and deal with it or move up to the 60mm.
Buddy OO is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 03:10 PM
  #4
Registered
 
WeaponX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LOTO
My Boats: 2400 HP nightmare.
Posts: 1,437
Default Re: bad press for loto

Home sweet home.
I love big water.
WeaponX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 03:23 PM
  #5
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: st. louis,mo.
Posts: 1,647
Default Re: bad press for loto

be perfect conditions for a 44 mti with bpm's and t-53's - 3600cat get her ordered, so we can run next year.
Buddy OO is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 03:41 PM
  #6
Registered
 
WeaponX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: LOTO
My Boats: 2400 HP nightmare.
Posts: 1,437
Default Re: bad press for loto

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiggler4490
be perfect conditions for a 44 mti with bpm's and t-53's - 3600cat get her ordered, so we can run next year.
TRI MAX and top secret turbines. No T53s.
WeaponX is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 07:27 PM
  #7
A to Z
Platinum Member
 
Sean H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KC/LOTO
Posts: 9,156
Default Re: bad press for loto

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3600cat
Home sweet home.
I love big water.
just get a 28' chase and you are set...
Sean H is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 07:42 PM
  #8
Registered
 
Pantera1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Winnipesaukee
My Boats: NorTech
Posts: 3,457
Default Re: bad press for loto

Ya the lakes crowded and dangerous bla bla bla ..heard it here too.
If your so scared stay on the dock and shut the pie hole ..
Pantera1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 08:38 PM
  #9
Registered
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 9,587
Default Re: bad press for loto

This article is propaganda against John getting his F4 wet! Big brother trying to extend the wait for Mentalpause!
Jupiter Sunsation is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2006, 08:39 PM
  #10
A to Z
Platinum Member
 
Sean H's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: KC/LOTO
Posts: 9,156
Default Re: bad press for loto

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3600cat
TRI MAX and top secret turbines. No T53s.
i heard you were putting the turbines on a go kart and giving up boating after this weekend...
Sean H is offline  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
RollWithIt
General Boating Discussion
10
08-02-2005 04:06 PM
Wobble
General Q & A
34
05-04-2005 04:08 PM
Waterfoul
General Boating Discussion
15
04-21-2005 08:47 PM
Von Bongo
General Boating Discussion
21
06-24-2003 10:48 PM
madbouyz
General Q & A
4
01-14-2003 11:16 AM



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:14 PM.


Copyright 2011 OffShoreOnly. All rights reserved.