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Video Transcript
Rob

OK, I think everybody likes to have fun on the water, feel the wind in their hair. But there are a few laws regarding speed here in Missouri. Fill us in. What do people need to know?

Officer Davis

Well, in Missouri, what the law says is that you cannot operate your boat too fast for boating traffic or water conditions. If there’s a lot of boats in the area or a lot of rough waves or wake out there, you’ve got to operate your boat at a safe speed so you can keep control to prevent a crash from occurring.

Rob

So there’s no speed limit, but it’s within safe limits. What does that mean?

Officer Davis

Correct. There is not a speed limit during daytime operation. So, you know, if you’re going to be operating your boat at a speed where you’re jumping the wakes and your boat’s becoming airborne and it lands maybe a little off-center, or you’re driving too fast, too close to other boats, you’re going to increase your risk of a crash occurring. We want people to operate at safe speeds.

Rob

So you can still get a ticket for going too fast, even though there’s no speed limit.

Officer Davis

Well, it would fall under our careless and imprudent operation.

Rob

Now let’s talk about speed at night.

Officer Davis

We have a nighttime speed limit in Missouri of 30 miles per hour. That takes effect a half hour after sunset and until an hour before sunrise. You can’t go faster than 30 miles per hour at night.

Rob

I’m sure 30 miles an hour at night when you can’t see is still pretty fast.

Officer Davis

Absolutely. A lot of people will say that’s kind of slow, but if you’ve ever been on a boat at night, 30 miles an hour seems plenty fast. If you’re going off your night vision, it’s harder to see, so it’s definitely a safe speed at night.

Rob

What about in no wake zones?

Officer Davis

Well, a no wake zone is going to be an area where your speed is also controlled. In a no wake zone, you have to operate your boat at what we call slow, idle speed, no wake. So every boat’s a little different. Just because you think you’re at idle speed, you have to make sure you’re not creating a wake behind your boat as well. So it’s as slow as your boat can go and still move you forward. So what I always tell people is it’s that first click on the throttle, and that’s at idle speed, so that your boat’s not creating any waves behind it because we don’t want to cause any damage to any boats, or injury to people that are trying to load in and out of boats, or damage any property.

Rob

Anything else people should stay away from, or stay at a slow speed?

Officer Davis

Well, Missouri does have a law on our waters which is similar to our move over law on the highways, which states that if you come across a marked emergency vessel that is displaying red and blue lights—for example, maybe we’re on a boat stop or working a crash—you again have to slow down, idle if you’re within 100 feet, or stay well away from our stop.

Rob

OK. Thank you.