David Schiefelbein: Yes and no collide on buoy idea

David Schiefelbein

The Missouri Water Patrol has some interesting evenings on tap over the course of the next week or so, if last week’s online opinion poll is any indication.

Then again, I’m certain the Water Patrol knew that long before we posted the poll in which we asked, “Do you think the proposed guidelines that will eliminate private buoys on Missouri lakes is a good idea?”

The guideline changes were recommended by a committee made up of three Water Patrol captains from areas of the state, so they are not exclusive to Lake of the Ozarks, even if it is Missouri’s most popular lake.

The issue of buoys on the lake has been brewing for quite some time, and according to the results of the online poll, half the respondents are in favor of them and half think there are too many already. The yes-no split on the poll was 437-437.

Twenty-four percent (206 votes) selected the straight answer “No,” while 26 percent (231 votes) were a little more emphatic and selected “No, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve heard yet.”

It’s impossible to know just how many of those respondents have docks that aren’t protected by buoys, but I suspect a great percentage of them.

The self-indulgent answer “Yes, because I already have mine,” drew only 3 percent (26 votes), so that’s pretty self-explanatory.

The answer “Yes, there are too many of them already,” drew the most responses at 47 percent (411 votes). Like the unprotected dock owners, it’s impossible to know how many of them don’t drive in their own cove the way they want to elsewhere, but I bet it’s pretty high.

The Missouri Water Patrol is holding a series of five get-togethers, beginning this weekend, to solicit comment from you on the buoy guideline changes. They’ve scheduled them to allow people time to travel.

The workshop-style meetings will be held in Kimberling City on April 19, Warsaw on April 23, Versailles on April 25, Osage Beach on April 26 and at the Pomme de Terre Dam office April 30.

Here are a few important things we have previously reported to keep in mind:

- The 4,000 or so existing buoys on Lake of the Ozarks will be grandfathered in but will not be transferable if there is a change in ownership. 

- Individual no-wake buoy permits will only be issued for marinas, gas docks and public facilities or as necessary for public safety. 

- All existing buoy permits will be honored but must be maintained as specified in the permit or be subject to revocation.  

- All approved buoys must be installed and maintained from April 1 through Oct. 1 of each year instead of the current requirement of May 1 through Labor Day.

I’ll be out looking for used buoys at yard sales, so e-mail me your comments at