Some of the best stories at the Lake of the Ozarks are about boating.

Here are 18 boating and Lakefront-related stories from 2016—from the outrageous to heroic to memorable and fun, the water is always the backdrop.

Missouri State Highway Patrol/Water Patrol

18. Bizarre, Dramatic, & Tragic: Boating Collisions And Sinkings

It's an inevitable part of boating at a busy Lake: sometimes strange or horrible things happen. These stories thankfully don't represent most boaters' experiences, but they serve as a sobering reminder to boat safely, and always designate a captain...

- Tragic Powerboat Crash Kills Two

- Boat Runs Aground After Bar Close -- Pontoon Slams Into Island -- Three Injured When Boat Hits Breakwater -- 35-Foot Formula Runs Aground On Horseshoe Bend

- Double Drowning When One Man Tries To Save Another

- Divers Recover Drowning Victim Near Sunken Boat In Frigid Water

- DRAMATIC: Woman Falls Overboard, Unseen By Captain, Swims To Safety

- HEROIC: Good Boaters Save KC Man From Drowning

- BIZARRE: Boat Found Half-Sunk In The Lake, With Holes Drilled In The Bottom

- Boat Sank Because Of One Missing Piece...

- ROUGH WATER: Wake Collisions Injure Three -- Two Injured On Labor Day Weekend Rough Water

- Man Hit By Propeller, Seriously Injured

17. Twice The Fun: Second Celebration Cruise Ship Embarks At The Lake

Celebration Cruises of Lake of the Ozarks has doubled its fleet. Celebration II is now on the Lake, docked at the Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark. The original Celebration continues to sail from Osage Beach near the Grand Glaize Bridge...

16. Rockin' The Lake At Aquapalooza 2016 [PHOTOS]

It's an annual favorite at the Lake: the concert at Dog Days you can enjoy from the water! Thousands of boaters show up to enjoy the fun. Check out the photos above!

15. Release The Kraken! Jolly Rogers Opens New Seafood & Oyster Bar

The Lake's newest restaurant/bar, The Kraken Shack, opened in May, next to Jolly Rogers. The menu includes smoked tuna dip created by Chef Joey Vaughan, gumbo, New England clam chowder, shrimp boil, and oysters shucked right before the customers’ eyes.

14. Shootout Race Course Shortened For Safety's Sake

It was a rough year in the powerboating world -- several seasoned racers were killed in multiple crashes at the Lake and elsewhere. As a result, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout was shortened to 3/4-mile, and the Grand Lake O' The Cherokees Shootout and Texas Outlaw Challenge followed suit.

13. Big Plans For Big Thunder

Of the many Shootout legends, Bob Morgan and Big Thunder are undeniably the most iconic. Now, the Big Thunder name continues to make its mark at Lake of the Ozarks, as the company has made a major merger with three other local marine businesses.

12. Docks Hit Dry Ground As Lake Level Reaches Rare Low

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. Ameren faced the ire of dock owners after dropping the Lake level in early March, in anticipation of rain that never came. As a result, the Lake of the Ozarks level went lower than it had been in more than six years.

11. Highway Patrol Keeps Marine Division, Alters Course For Troopers

A Lake-area representative backed off a bill to divide the Missouri State Highway Patrol from its Water Patrol division, after years of controversy about whether the MSHP was running its marine division well. The MSHP pointed to changes it had made to ensure well-trained troopers were on the water and officers with experience managing marine operations were running the division.

10. Patrol To Pay $9M To Family Of Brandon Ellingson, Who Drowned While Handcuffed

The settlement ends the lawsuit that Brandon Ellingson’s family filed in federal court.

9. Lakefront Home Rentals Under Pressure

With the state legislature weighing regulations for homeowners who rent out their dwelling on a short-term basis, and Camden County billing those homeowners at a higher property tax rate, vacation rentals at the Lake was a hotbutton issue in 2016, and promises to stick around for 2017.

8. Missouri Cracks Down On Intoxicated Boaters

A new state law set to take effect in 2017 spells hard time for a captain who injures anyone while he or she is boating while intoxicated...

7. Major League Fishing Lands Lunkers At Lake Of The Ozarks

MLF’s GEICO Select series began its sixth season of filming as 24 top anglers competed in the Bass Pro Shop Summit Select presented by Ferguson, at Lake of the Ozarks in June.

6. Freshwater Jellyfish Resurface

With waters warm from the summer sun, freshwater jellyfish once again were spotted across the Lake.

5. Water Patrol Watches For Wakes

Boaters who were careless with their wake had an increased chance of being pulled over this year, as the Patrol worked to address concerns of boaters and dock owners who have experienced property damage and even injury as a result of large wakes.

OSAGE BEACH – Backwater Jack's, a popular lakefront bar at Lake of the Ozarks, is getting a pool.

A zoning change on property adjacent to Backwater Jack's restaurant will clear the way for development of a pool and deck area. A company spokesperson said the pool is planned to be open for the 2017 boating season.

The zoning change is the result of coordination with city staff Backwater Jack's ownership says it reflects an appropriate use of the property.

Owner Gary Prewitt has agreed with city staff to include an E-2 zoning overlay for the pool and deck area, strictly limiting hours for music. “We have come to a good solution with the city that allows us move forward,” Prewitt said. 

A company spokesperson pointed out the pool project will generate significant new sales-tax revenue for Osage Beach and provide dozens of new jobs. 

In 2016 Backwater Jack's employed 76 people and generated more than $160,000 in tax revenue.

4. Backwater Jack's Plans A Pool For 2017

A boater-favorite hotspot is getting a little cooler in 2017, with Backwater Jack's planning an expansion, with a pool and deck area to open for the boating season.

3. Redhead Cove Goes 'No Wake'

A busy, mixed-use cove on the Lake will have calmer waters, after the Patrol decided, mid-season, to make Miller Hollow Cove, aka Redhead Cove, "No Wake."

2. Shootout Surprise: 'American Ethanol's' 217 MPH Run Wins, After DQ Is Overturned

American Ethanol blew past its top speed from 2015's Shootout, with a 217 mph run this year. But the run—the boat's only run for the day—got a "black flag," meaning it was disqualified, since it was ruled to be already over 40 mph when it crossed the starting line. Later that day, the Shootout Committee overturned the disqualification, and that run won American Ethanol the Top Gun title for 2016.

1. Trooper Tells Of Rescuing Boater Who Crashed At Shootout Finish Line

Corporal David Echternacht leapt into the water to rescue Jeff McCann, whose 23-ft Donzi tumbled across the finish line at the 2016 Shootout. The crash threw McCann from the boat, and he survived with only moderate injuries.


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