JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A much-talked-about bill that changes the rules for anchoring near docks and makes it clearly illegal to trespass on a dock, was signed into law on Wednesday, July 14.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed SB49 on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.

The Missouri Senate website the summarizes the bill this way:

“This act prohibits vessels positioned within 100 feet of a permitted boat dock from being anchored in a manner that obstructs ingress or egress of watercraft to or from the dock, unless authorized by the boat dock permit holder. The act also provides that no person shall secure a vessel to or enter upon a private permitted boat dock unless authorized to do so by the boat dock permit holder, or as specified in the act. A violation of these provisions shall be an infraction.

This act also specifies that operating or positioning a vessel in a manner that obstructs or impedes the normal flow of traffic on the waters of this state shall be an infraction, rather than a Class C misdemeanor for a first offense or a Class B misdemeanor for a second or subsequent offense.”

The major takeaways for boaters are:

-No more anchoring within 100 feet of someone else's dock in a way that might prevent the dock owner from getting their boat in or out

-No more tying up to, or stepping onto, other people's docks without their permission

The new law does allow a provision for boaters to tie up to a dock in an emergency or to avoid inclement weather, stating, "The provisions of this subsection shall not apply during inclement weather conditions or other emergencies, or actions taken to prevent an unsecured vessel from becoming a navigational hazard."

In addition, the new law gives boat owners the option to permanently register their vessels at a cost three times the usual three-year certificate. 

The bill, sponsored by Senator Justin Brown who represents District 16 which includes Camden, Crawford, Dent, Phelps, and Pulaski counties, was prefiled in January of 2020. 

“I have had many constituents from the Lake of the Ozarks reach out to my office regarding boat dock trespassing. Usually, boat owners are respectful of each other’s property, but a few inconsiderate boaters create problems for others by ignoring common courtesy and basic property rights,” Sen. Brown said. “This legislation clarifies what should be normal etiquette on the water, and provides the Water Patrol clear authority to issue a ticket when necessary.”

Now signed, SB49 goes into effect on Aug. 28. For more information, check out LakeExpo’s previous coverage on SB49 here: