LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol today made a small—but important—change to the expanded 2018 Shootout No-Wake Zone.

The planned No-Wake Zone was expanded dramatically earlier this year, with the significant change occurring Saturday afternoon. Beginning at noon, the No-Wake Zone will stretch downstream from the race to the 21 Mile Marker — over 10 miles. The plan was to end that No-Wake Zone at 8 p.m., which was a major lengthening of distance and duration compared to previous years.

However, the Patrol announced on Wednesday, June 13 that the No-Wake Zone would still extend down to the 21 Mile Marker, but it would end at 7 p.m., not at 8 p.m.

That’s not just an arbitrary change.

Sunset on Saturday, Aug. 25 will be at 7:49 p.m., and nighttime navigation rules go into effect 30 minutes later. With a 10-mile-long No-Wake Zone ending at 8 p.m., that would give boaters in the area little time between the end of No-Wake and the beginning of nighttime boating, which imposes a speed limit of 30 mph and requires the use of navigation lights.

(Read about Missouri’s nighttime boating navigation laws here.)

Captain Matt Walz, the Marine Division Director of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, explained, “Our intention on moving that up to 7pm is to ensure that people don’t get caught up in that No-Wake area to where they can’t get home before dark.” Walz pointed out many people are not familiar or comfortable with boating on the Lake at nighttime—especially new or infrequent visitors who might be in town for the Shootout. The goal, Walz said, is to “make the restriction longer than last year and address the problem” but also to make sure boaters get home safely before dark.

Another issue the Patrol realized: some of the boats racing in the Shootout are not equipped with nighttime navigation lights.

And while some boaters may not mind idling 10 miles after the Shootout, that long of an idle can be hard on some boats’ engines; and if the weather is especially hot (a real possibility the last weekend of August in the Ozarks!), it could make for a long sweaty trip home for those boaters still dreaming about their upgrade to an air-conditioned cabin.

Some boaters are planning an extended, impromptu “cove out” near the Shootout race course after the race. Other lucky ones live not far from the 33 Mile Marker, so the No-Wake Zone doesn’t change much. But if you’re looking for another way to beat the No-Wake Zone, here are a few more ideas…

What To Do/Where To Go

1. NOTE: If you’re headed downstream on Saturday, there’s not really any way to beat the extended No-Wake Zone, if you really want to see much of the race. So just plan to idle.

2. DOWNSTREAM HOTSPOTS: Don’t like the idea of idling for 10+ miles? There are some great places to eat and drink on the water! These are, of course, within the No-Wake Zone, so you’ll have to idle to get there, but it’ll cut down on your idle time.

Captain Ron’s Bar & Grill is the obvious choice. It’s the host of the Shootout: the race happens literally in the restaurant’s “back yard.” There, you can meet racers on the docks, cruise the Vendor Village, and order food and drinks all along the beach, or inside. www.captainronsatthelake.com

Bulldog’s Beach House. At the 33 Mile Marker. The “Stuffed Burgers” are popular, and there’s often live music, and plenty to eat and drink. www.bulldogsbeachhouse.com

Chesnie’s Cafe. At the 33 Mile Marker - same cove as Bulldog’s. Folks love their burgers - a popular little spot to eat and drink! Find them on Facebook.

The Fish & Co. In Linn Creek Cove’s “Possum Hollow”, off the Four Corners. A colorful hotspot with live music, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and lots of beverages. www.thefishandcompany.com

Larry’s On The Lake. On one of the Four Corners: at the beginning of the Niangua Arm. Remodeled for 2018, with lots to eat and drink, and often hosting live music too. Find them on Facebook

Nautifish Rum Bar. At the 3.3 Mile Marker of the Niangua Arm. Turn right at the Four Corners and skip the extended No-Wake Zone! Get on plane, and head up the Niangua Arm and you’ll find Nautifish Rum Bar just a few miles away! www.nautifishrumbar.com

Miller’s Landing. At the 28 Mile Marker. Take a break after idling several miles downstream, to enjoy food and drinks here! Dog-friendly, and known for good food! www.themillerslanding.com

3. UPSTREAM HOTSPOTS: There are pros and cons to joining the upstream side of the race. Con: you catch the tail-end of the race boats’ runs, which means you see them slowing down rather than speeding up. Pro: if you want to head upstream, you can get out of the No-Wake Zone faster, and still have some great places to eat. If you prefer the “less crowded” option, head upstream and check out…

Bear Bottom Resort. They’re at the 38 Mile Marker, so idle your way to the 36 and then just a quick hop to Bear Bottom. The nachos are legendary, and the Miami Vice is the signature drink, but there’s plenty more than that to fill your belly and wet your whistle! www.bearbottomresort.com

Big Dick’s Halfway Inn. At the 47 Mile Marker. A wacky-but-popular spot for many, with an abundant menu loaded with double-entrende and featuring burgers, steaks, pizzas and drinks of course. www.bigdickshalfwayinn.com

Red Fox Bar & Grill. At the 50 Mile Marker. A bit of a jaunt from the Shootout, but if your house/condo isn’t far from the Shootout, it’ll make for a nice run upstream! The menu features sandwiches, burgers, salads, and daily specials, and there’s an outdoor Tiki Bar too. www.redfox50.com

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