People along Lake Taneycomo say Jet Boat damages docks and boats

Published: Jan. 11, 2019 at 4:33 PM CST
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Some people along Lake Taneycomo are hoping for a quieter season on the lake in 2019.

Home and resort owners claim the Branson Jet Boat, a high-speed tourist attraction, damages their docks and nearly swamps their boats.

"It's such a large wave that most people have to hang on to the dock," Lakeshore Resort Owner Adam Thormann said.

He and other owners along the lake say the Jet Boat wreaked havoc on business in 2018.

"I have had customers saying they're never coming back again," Blue Haven Resort Manager Gary Acton said.

"I've got lots of customers that are just absolutely can't believe that they allow a boat to run on this narrow body of water," Thormann said.

The boat is allowed to operate on Lake Taneycomo and 2018 was its first full season. Boat captains are supposed to comply with lake laws, such as not throwing a wake within 100-feet of a dock. However, at least three Jet Boat captains have apparently broken those laws. Three tickets were issued for speeding near docks and one for operating carelessly.

On it's website, the Jet Boat boasts bow dunks, 360 spins, power slide, and more, promising a thrilling ride for tourists.

However, it's far less than thrilling for homeowners like Darryl Ostrom.

"You can see all the scratches, [my boat] has been beaten on the side because it turns into a ping pong ball," Ostrom said.

Ostrom says the boat also poses safety risks to the public.

"I've seen kids knocked off water boards, I've seen canoes swamped," Ostrom said.

One man even says the jet boat wake rocked his dock so hard that it knocked his dog in the water. The dog drown.

"It didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened and wouldn't have happened had we not had an extreme wake as a result of this speed boat going by," Mike Hill said.

While the homeowners aren't necessarily pushing to dock the boat permanently, they're asking for answers and respect from the company.

"They sometimes act like they're the only boat on the water," Hill said.

A KY3/KSPR reporter met the owner of Branson Jet Boat Mark Ruda at court, as both attended the court date for the captains. He told KY3/KSPR he'd respond to the concerns publicly, but since then calls and multiple emails have gone unanswered.

"It just kind of fell on deaf ears. They weren't really concerned on the impact they were having on our businesses," Thormann said.

So, as the summer season starts back up in a few months, many people along Lake Taneycomo are hoping for smoother water.

" I want every body to feel comfortable and enjoy this lake," Thormann said.

"There's just other things to consider besides them and making a dollar off of tourists," Hill said.

Two of the captains who got those tickets were forced to pay a fine and will use a monitoring device on their boats. The other case in not yet resolved.