INSIDE EDITION Investigates Party Cove
The Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri is the midwest's premiere lake vacation destination. But with four more deaths on the water over the holiday weekend, this lake continues to be one of the most dangerous waterways in the country.
Lisa Guerrero has a special report on one of the Ozarks main attractions, a floating mardi gras with a national reputation for raunchy rowdiness, where boating and boozing go hand-in-hand and sometimes make for a deadly mix.
Welcome to the place they call Party Cove. There's binge drinking, topless women and out of control behavior.
From the air, you can see how massive the party can be at this notorious cove on Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks, about 180 miles from St. Louis. On holiday weekends like Labor Day and Memorial Day, as many as 2,000 boats tie up, turning this beautiful lake into a floating mardi gras that's a public safety nightmare.
In the last five years, there have been over 50 deaths at the Lake of the Ozarks, making it one of the most accident-prone and deadly waterways in the country.
When INSIDE EDITION checked out Party Cove, we found a floating bachelor party. Well before noon many of the guys on board certainly looked wasted.
And some of these dudes were already pitching themselves off their floating frat house into the murky water below.
INSIDE EDITION brought along marine safety expert Ken Wahl who said the combination of booze, water and floating parties make for a lethal mix.
"I've seen people break their necks before jumping into too shallow water, paralyzed for life," said Wahl.
With drinks in hand, dozens of revelers float oblivously into the path of boats with churning propellers.
Wahl said, "I've worked in many cases before where somebody, a boater or swimmer, had been run over by a boat propeller and the results are just disastrous."
Binge drinking was everywhere. And INSIDE EDITION found rampant nudity and openly lewd behavior.
One group young of women celebrating a bachelorette party at the cove told us they've taken precautions to stay safe on the water.
Guerrero asked, "So everyone's been drinking all day. Everyone's been having fun. Does everybody have a designated driver?"
"Well we do. I can't seapk for everyone else, but we do," said one girl.
As the day came to a close, we returned to visit that floating bachelor party.
Guerrero asked a man on the boat, "What have you been doing the past several hours?"
"Getting drunk, looking at boobies," said the man.
Despite all their shenanigans, they assured us they had a designated driver to pilot their boat safely to shore.
Guerrero said to the designated driver, "So I understand you're the designated driver."
"Yes," replied the driver as he was holding a glass of booze.
Guerrero said, "You're not supposed to be drinking if you're the designated driver."
The driver later gave the drink to one of his cohorts.