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Troopers explain water patrol changes at Lake of the Ozarks

This summer, boaters and residents may notice some enforcement changes at the Lake of the Ozarks.

ABC 17 News reported Thursday, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is restructuring its water patrol division.

The changes will take effect this summer across the state. But in Mid-Missouri, Troop F will focus on bringing extra manpower.

Starting at the beginning of peak boating season in May, two troopers will be added to the two zones at the Lake of the Ozarks.

“Both zones, when they’re full, there will be a total of 10 in each for a total of 20 full time marine operations troopers at Lake of the Ozarks,” Sgt. Scott White with Troop F said.

Extra enforcement will also be brought to the lake on busy weekends through September.

“Some of those former full-time marine officers that have transitioned to road duty, during some weekends during the summer they’ll be back on the lake,” White said.

And troopers will be scheduled to work extended 10 to 12 hour shifts on many weekends.

In 2015, Troop F made more than 60 boating while intoxicated arrests. Another change this summer will include more BWI checkpoints and saturation.

In addition, troopers will put a bigger emphasis on public safety education, including efforts on managing the wake problem.

“The wakes that we do see, some of them aren’t necessarily against the law,” White said. “It just comes to being discourteous, being a discourteous boater. And we all know that boating at Lake of the Ozarks depends a lot of people’s just responsibility and being courteous to the other boaters.”

When the highway and water patrol merger happened in 2011, troop commanders without water experience were put in charge of the water patrol within their troop boarders.

During the peak season this summer, a captain with water patrol experience, Capt. Matt Walz, will be taking over supervision at the Lake of the Ozarks.

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