LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — Just a few years ago, Miller Hollow Cove on the 21 Mile Marker was not very different from many coves around the Lake. It sported homes, condos, and a business or two. But now, with the establishment of Performance Boat Center, Redhead Yacht Club, and Redhead’s Lakeside Grill, the area is bustling with activity. That is why cove residents decided to apply for a “No-Wake” designation, and it it also why the Missouri Highway Patrol fast-tracked the process.
On Tuesday, July 19, the Patrol’s Buoy Committee determined Miller Hollow Cove, commonly known as “Redhead Cove,” would be designated No-Wake. The No-Wake designation will extend from May 1 to Sept. 30 every year, effective from 10 a.m. to midnight. The committee made the decision after a special-called hearing; hearings are typically held in the winter months. MSHP Water Patrol Division Director Matt Walz explained this was a unique case. “Because that cove had gotten so busy, so quickly, we felt like this was something that needed to be addressed now, before the end of the boating season,” Walz said.
Getting “No-Wake” for a cove is a complicated process, so resident Cole Bradbury, a local attorney of counsel at Williams Law Firm, helped move the effort along. Applications had to be submitted, myriad forms were filled out, and a resident survey had to show that at least 75 percent of residents wanted “No-Wake.” Bradbury says it was a team effort, noting the significant work put in by Jason Hulett, Jason Whittle, John Bonney and Professional Services LLC, Matt Walz and other Highway Patrol troopers, as well as the more than 150 people who voted and the dozens who showed up for the hearing. More than 90 percent of cove residents said they were in favor of the change.
Stressing the unique nature of Redhead Cove, Walz pointed out not every cove can be approved for “No-Wake”, even if the property owners want it. Tubers and skiiers often stick to coves, and the designation of one cove as “No-Wake” simply pushes them to the next one. The process is a balancing act, he says, with the desires of the boating public on one side, and the need to protect boater (and swimmer) safety as well as private property (docks and boats) on the other.
A special consideration for Redhead Cove was the layout. Boaters entering the cove come around a sharp turn to the left, which amounted to something of a blind spot, posing a collision hazard for the many boaters coming in and out of the area.
The committee’s decision to start the “No-Wake” time at 10 a.m. was a way of appeasing some who said they still wanted some time to enjoy tubing and skiing in the cove, even if only in the mornings.
As a result of the decision, No-Wake buoys will be placed at the cove’s entrance as well as a sign describing the parameters. Walz noted an increased marine trooper presence in the area would be needed initially, to educate and remind boaters of the new rule.
"The designation of additional no-wake coves does not change the efforts of the Patrol to make all of our coves safer through education and enforcement on excessive boat wakes. That effort remains a priority on Lake of the Ozarks," Walz emphasized, adding, "Be a courteous boater and a safe boater, by being aware of your wake. This is especially important in cove locations and where secondary channel areas narrow, such as the Niangua and Gravois Arms."
He reminds boaters to practice "360 Boating" — being aware not only of what is ahead, but also of what they're leaving behind.
Walz added, "Boaters operating vessels capable of creating an excessive wake must be responsible with the operation of their vessel."