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No-wake zone means no skiing at Lake of the Ozarks

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Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
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Lake of the Ozarks.

There'll be no waterskiing at the Lake of the Ozarks, at least maybe not till Saturday at the earliest.

The high-water level due to heavy rainfall has led Gov. Jay Nixon to declare the entire lake a "no-wake zone," meaning that boaters can travel no faster than basic idle speed.

"When the lake is this full, the risk of property damage and even personal injury, as a result of large wakes from boats, becomes even greater," Nixon told reporters Thursday. "Those can particularly impact coves and smaller branches off the main channel, resulting in damage to docks, boats, and shorelines."

Emergency response vessels are the only ones exempted from the no-wake restrictions.

The normal water level at the Lake of the Ozarks is 658 feet, and it's considered full at 660 feet. As of Thursday morning, it was at 662.5 feet, and is forecast to crest at 663 feet.

The no-wake order will be lifted once the lake level drops to 661 feet, which Nixon says he hopes will happen by Saturday, which is also the Fourth of July.

"But make no mistake, if we don't get down to that level, we won't (lift the no-wake order)," Nixon said. "We're not making a tourism decision here, we're making a public safety decision … we're not gonna take the risk of those docks being overtopped and (having) electricity in the Lake."

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is also requesting that dock owners shut off electricity to their docks for the duration.

Floodgates at Bagnell Dam were opened Wednesday and will remain open indefinitely. The discharge rate as of 11 a.m. Thursday was listed at more than 80,000 cubic feet per second.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

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