2019's Wildest, Weirdest, & Most Interesting Boating Stories From Lake Of The Ozarks

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Lake of the Ozarks is the nation's #1 recreational lake and every summer becomes the third-largest population center in Missouri. That makes for some fantastically fun boating stories, and at LakeExpo, our job is to tell 'em!

So here are 15 of our top stories from the water in 2019.

1. LandShark Lands At The Lake

The much-anticipated opening of LandShark Bar & Grill symbolized a new era for the former Tan-Tar-A, now Margaritaville Lake Resort. The restaurant's beach vibe welcomed droves of patrons, and it quickly joined boaters' short-list of favorite lakefront hotspots.

2. Same Race, New Place

Lake Race brought high-speed competition back to Lake of the Ozarks this year, but in a new spot. The race moved from its former location at Bagnell Dam & Beavers At The Dam, to the 7 Mile Marker and Camden On The Lake. The news was met with enthusiasm from fans across the Midwest and beyond.

3. The Lake's New Predator

It's the boat that—even for those who wouldn't want to drive it... and even for those who complain about big boats on the Lake—you know you'd love to hop aboard for a cruise. The 2018, 59-foot yacht named Gaby had been listed on multiple websites at the low-low price of $1.48 million. Chump change!

4. We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat

Sure a 59-foot yacht is big. But 60 feet is bigger. And 60 feet is the length of the new 60 Cruisers Cantius Flybridge. The boat is 60 feet long, 16 feet wide, and 23 feet tall... so tall, in fact, that it came to Lake of the Ozarks in two pieces. Pricetag: $3 million.

The boat cruised the Lake last summer, and then anchored at the Shootout race start line, as the official Start Boat.

5. Open The Gates!

Starting with late-winter flooding in the Upper Midwest, the middle of the country had an incredibly soggy spring. Major waterways like the Missouri and Mississippi rivers were massively swollen. Truman Lake filled to capacity. The challenging task for dam operators is to pass all that water downstream in a way that minimizes flooding damage. So the Bagnell Dam floodgates were opened multiple times this year, to alleviate upstream flooding.

6. The Boat Thief's Brief Joyride

A man at Dog Days Bar & Grill hopped aboard a docked boat and took it for a spin... literally. Authorities say he drove in circles until he was thrown from the boat and injured. He ultimately pleaded guilty to Class D Felony - Tampering With A Vessel.

7. The Quick-Thinking Boater Who Shoved His Flaming Vessel Into The Cove

This one could have been much worse: when a powerboat caught fire at a dock on the 59 Mile Marker, the owner realized there was no putting it out. The fire was beginning to spread to the dock, so he shoved the boat out into the cove. There, it burned to the waterline, but the flames couldn't reach any other boats or structures.

8. Shore Magazine Makes Waves

Ok, this is admittedly a bit self-serving. So indulge us.

But 2019 celebrated the inaugural launch of Shore Magazine: an almost-larger-than-life, 196-page publication devoted to the Lake of the Ozarks boating lifestyle. The magazine is a partnership between LakeExpo and Showcase Publishing: a combined 40+ years of publishing experience at Lake of the Ozarks.

In case you missed it, read our 2019 issue here:

And the 2020 issue has arrived, and began distribution in December. Order your copy delivered to your door, or read the e-edition here.

9. Everybody's OK... But There Were Some Raceboat Crashes

At powerboat races, crashes are an ever-present risk. In fact, most race organizations make racers go through dunk-tank training, where they practice putting on oxygen masks and freeing themselves from their safety harnesses in a simulated, submerged, post-crash environment.

At Lake Race 2019, a race boat flipped as it rounded one end of the race course. And at the Race World Offshore Key West World Championships, a Lake of the Ozarks based race team was one of two that went airborne at the same moment. Some of the drivers were a bit banged up, but all survived to tell the tale, and race again.

10. The Shootout Air Show Threatened By Drones & The FAA

The annual Shootout boat races are filled with thrilling high-speed boats, but another fan-favorite event at the Shootout is the air show. However, this year, LakeExpo discovered the air show was possibly going to be cancelled, due to a standoff between the FAA and the Shootout Air Boss. Here's how that ended...

11. The Shootout's Slowest Boat Might Be The Future

Randy Vance ran his electric-motor-powered boat 25 mph at the 2018 Shootout. And in 2019, he increased his speed by 20 percent! His 30 mph run in a new boat dubbed Volt was still the slowest at the Shootout, but it may be a sign of things to come...

12. Local Dealer Gets Global Recognition

Hard work and dedication paid off for Premier 54 Motorsports at Lake of the Ozarks. The homegrown business was named by Chaparral Boats as the #1 Chaparral dealer in the world.

13. Cleaning Up 'Skinny Dip Cove'

There's a cove on Lake of the Ozarks that most folks probably don't know about. It's skinny and twists and turns, and isn't good for much... although based on one of its several names, Skinny Dip Cove's asset may be its obscurity. Aside from risqué swimming, the cove is also popular for scuba diving, and a group of divers this fall decided to combine a training exercise with a cleanup event.

14. The Skinny-Dipping, Dumpster-Diving Bear

To be fair, all bears are skinny-dippers. But this black bear's antics made him (or her) a local rockstar. The young'un was spotted swimming around a local dock, and diving in a local dumpster. In other words, living the good life!

15. When The Lake Was Suddenly Bright-Green

Folks around the Lake took a double-take this summer when they noticed bright-green streaks across the Lake. Some theorized it was a massive paint spill. Others thought maybe algae. But it was actually a plant called duckweed: not normally found in Lake of the Ozarks but likely made its way here as a result of the Midwest flooding.

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