Lake Safety Law

On January 1, 2010, a new state law took effect, requiring dock owners on Missouri lakes to post the closest emergency address for their dock. The goal is faster response times by emergency services to incidents on the water. Emergency address postings on docks will also aid in non-emergency calls for services for lost or disabled boaters.

The new law affects docks on Lake of the Ozarks and all Missouri lakes managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The law states that "the appropriate '911' address or in the absence of a '911' system, the physical address nearest to the dock by land," must be posted. It is suggested that the sign be posted so that it is visible when looking at the dock from the water. The Missouri State Highway Patrol recommends a minimum of three inch letters be used when posting addresses on docks. For maximum visibility, the address should be in a color that contrasts with the backing. Reflective paint or material is preferred for the lettering.

If you are unsure of the closest emergency or 911 address for your dock, please contact your local emergency services office or sheriff's department. Many local sign shops are now printing dock signs that conform to the new law. Owners who wish to make their own signs can purchase reflective lettering at most hardware stores. The Highway Patrol suggests that the posted address include the street number and street name and the zip code, or 911 address and zip code. For convenience, the dock permit number, which in most instances must already be displayed, can be posted alongside the emergency address.

Dock owners at Lake of the Ozarks can see a recommended example for a dock sign at the Ameren UE website: http://www.ameren.com/sites/aue/lakeoftheozarks/Pages/911Posting.aspx.

The posting of emergency addresses on docks will enhance safety on Missouri's lakes. You can call the Missouri State Highway Patrol with any questions regarding the new law at 573-751-3313.