LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — As the Lake becomes busier, more boaters are turning to breakwaters to mitigate dock damage caused by large boat wakes. Ameren, the utility company that permits structures on the Lake, is updating their breakwater rules as a result.
New rules for breakwaters on Lake of the Ozarks are going into effect on July 15, and they will require some significant changes for lakefront businesses and residential communities.
The full description of the guidelines is at the end of this article, but major changes include:
1. New and renewing breakwater permits will need to be accompanied by an inspection and certification by a professional engineer
2. Permit terms will be restricted to 10 years
3. Breakwaters must be located within 30 feet of the end of the applicant's boat dock
In a press release from Ameren, the new changes were listed as such:
"Breakwater permits will now have a specified term of ten (10) years. Permits can be renewed but applicants will need to submit an inspection report and certification from a professional engineer that the breakwater is structurally sound, anchored in its authorized location and contains proper navigational lighting."
Ameren stated that their reason for these new guidelines was to respond to an increased interest in breakwaters around the Lake after an increase in boat traffic and dock damage since the last change in guidelines in 2017.
And Ameren went on to explain why an engineer was required to submit an application for breakwaters:
"Breakwaters need to be designed to withstand wave action, which can differ from location to location across the lake. Because they can be expensive to install and maintain, specialized expertise is needed. You can always call the Shoreline Management Office before you contact an engineer so that we can discuss the process and requirements."
And although Ameren cites local concerns as a reason for these increased guidelines, not everyone thinks the changes are a good idea.
A local breakwater and dock builder, who preferred not to be named for this article, argues Ameren should be focusing on boats that create big wakes, not on breakwaters. “The root of the problem is the boats… The concentration should be on what makes the wave.”
He cited the added expense of hiring an engineer, the added time it takes to comply with the new guidelines, and Ameren being able to revoke permits after 10 years. He worries these new guidelines could discourage the construction of docks and breakwaters.
“If I can’t protect it and we can’t put breakwaters around it then why would I put a warranty dock product on there. It’s like giving someone a sledgehammer for a whole weekend,” he added.
Ameren is taking public comment about these changes until June 30. The changes are expected to go into effect July 15. Anyone interested in making a comment can submit them at Lake@ameren.com
And for the full list of guideline changes, see below.