A Few Featured Lake of The Ozarks Boat Captains



The Lake of the Ozarks is a navigable water way that is regulated by the United States Coast Guard. This includes any commercial businesses that involve water transportation, charter work, boat towing, fishing guiding, tour site-seeing trips, pushing barges, boat delivery and more. It is a federal regulation that the operator of these vessels must be a credentialed USCG Captain.

The State of Missouri is home to 100 lakes and 256 rivers. many of these are considered navigable waterways and fall under these regulations, requiring a captain's credentials. 

Captain’s credentials can and do open many opportunities to incorporate the love of boating and operating a business.

Here are a few Lake of the Ozarks captains and their stories.


Captain Mike Doll

Lake of the Ozarks legend and Master Captain Doll lives by a simple philosophy: “Fill Your Life with Experiences.” LET’S GO CATCHING!

As one of the Lake of the Ozarks premier professional fishing guides and charter boat captains, Captain Doll's outdoor success is fueled by a lifetime of experience and 20 years spent on the Lake.

A Florida native who has been living in Missouri for the past 45 years, Captain Doll has been fishing since he was four years-old. “Starting at a young age my passion has always been boating, fishing, and hunting. I turned it into a lifetime career," he said. 

He is currently a Charter Captain and guide on the Lake of the Ozarks for crappie, big blue catfish, largemouth bass and white bass. He has been noted to say, “figure out the fish bio-eco-puzzle and you figure out fishing success.”  

Captain Doll pays special attention to the best gear, tackle, and baits that are produced on Lake of the Ozarks. He is passionate about teaching, keeping people safe, and having fun regardless of a person's ability.  He especially loves fishing with kids and spending time with our veterans.

Captain Doll has 42 years of experience in business, most notably in the eyecare medical field and business enterprises ,including consulting and working in corporate business software and hardware. He is also an author, certified educator, professional speaker and father. 

He holds various licenses and certifications from the US Coast Guard, including  licensed master with towing endorsement commercially insured. He earned certifications from the National Safe Boating Council in Close Water Boat Control and Open Water/Rough Water Boat Control. He is also American Red Cross certified in first aid, CPR and AED for adults, pediatric and infants.

Through the Captains Association of Missouri he is a registered USCG licensed Master National Professional Anglers Association Registered Guide. With the American Boating Association he is a Member Fishing Broker and holds commercially insured boat insurance including an umbrella policy.

Captain Doll has been offering his services as a professional fishing guide for the past five years. He is for hire for boat charter captain services to operate personal vessels, rented vessels or a charter provided by him. As an ambassador of the Lake he enjoys touring and sharing its rich history with others.

For those who want to learn boating safety and how to handle a vessel in an emergency situation, he is a NSBC instructor and offers training.

“I became a USCG licensed Master Boat Captain because I believe in knowing your profession and being responsible, and enjoying the challenges that come along. The safety of my passengers and crew is a must and showing the integrity to do so matters. Also, leadership while on the water and in the community is the right thing to do and being a good teacher when the opportunity presents makes a difference, he said.

In reference to his fishing and guide business, Captain Doll said, “I believe the outdoors teaches me something every day and the office space is second to none. Fishing is never routine, it is more like solving a puzzle each day.” He passionately enjoys teaching customers and putting them on fish 


Captain Joshua Gould

Captain Gould is a St. Louis native and has been spending time at the Lake since he was a child.  He is a business owner in St. Louis and the president of Gould Holdings which specializes in luxury Airbnb's, event spaces, and commercial and residential design work. He is a avid art collector, architecture enthusiast, and designer. He enjoys quality time with his family and friends, as well as dinners out, and copious amounts of travel and taking in different cultures.

Captain Gould became a licensed captain three years ago. He recalls coming to the Lake as a child and his dad teaching him to operate a boat. He  immediately fell in love with the water and even has a tattoo that says “at home on the water” which reflects that.

 During his teenage years he and his dad did not make it to the lake as often.  He missed it and for his 25th birthday bought himself a 340 Sundancer cruiser vessel. Spending time in Miami for his 30th birthday and chartering a yacht gave him the idea to bring this to the Lake. "That's when my father and I decided to get into the luxury yacht charter business and do it right, with uniformed crew, credentialed crew, and all the amenities of a luxury day charter experience ,and launch it at the lake," he said. "We created an experience down here that no one was doing." Captain Gould said several have tried to copy them but have failed to meet the same standards that he and his father offer.

There are some things that he especially enjoys about being a captain. “The main two are experiencing our beautiful lake and the incredible people and connections I have made while captaining," he explained. "It is always amazing to see our repeat charter guest come back again and again. We have one family we take out five to six times a summer, even though they have their own boat. It's easier and more relaxing for them to hire us."

Being the primary captain for his vessel SKYFALL allows Captain Gould the opportunity to do things better and different than companies that just assign random captains. He knows his clients’ service expectations. He knows the vessel inside and out and that his dedicated crew is trained to the highest standards. 

SKYFALL is currently the number one rated and highest reviewed yacht charter company at the lake, and Captain Gould said piloting her is an absolute dream. She features twin 800 HP MAN Diesel engines, the most state-of-the-art radar system, under water mapping, and a incredible concert style sound and light system installed by Waves & Wheels Marine Audio at the Lake. Captain Gould is proud to admit the stares SKYFALL gets at almost 60-feet in length is always fun. "Proudly we have been able to maintain a 5.0 star ratings across every platform," he said.


Captain Jim Bascue

After retiring from a fast-paced career at UPS, Captain Bascue started the first water taxi at The Lake of the Ozarks. Playin' Hooky Water Taxi Charters LLC was established in the beginning of 2011, which brought to the Lake the first day and nighttime bar hopping fun cruise. Most recently, he added a one-million dollar Coast Guard certified 55-foot offshore speed boat that carries 43 passengers.

“One weekend while boating my wife Mini and I stopped at a local waterfront grill for lunch and found ourselves in conversation with a group visiting the Lake," he explained. "They mentioned that they would like to get out on the water but the cost was too much and their group was too large for a rental boat." On the way back home, Mini suggested starting a water taxi. "No one had ever done that at the Lake before," he said.

Having previous business experience, he spent the next few months researching how to obtain a captain's license and get the business going. By early summer in 2011 they were up and running.

When asked what he likes best about what he does, Captain Bascue replied, “The best part of this business is being a part of a special event in someone’s life. We carry more than 500 passengers every week on our fun cruises, water taxis, corporate and family charters and shuttles. A large part of passengers are celebrating a special event in their life, bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays and employee appreciation events. We get to be a part of that."

Captain Bascue added, "Many of these folks have never been to the Lake of the Ozarks before and they have entrusted us to help make their time here memorable. Carrying this many people, we also have a positive impact on supporting our community and the waterfront bar and grills in the area we serve. We provide a safe and cost effective option for people to get out and enjoy the Lake”.



Captain Doug Beck

Captain Beck has been boating since the age of 14. He originally boated in Iowa and Minnesota with a Sears 14ft semi-V boat powered by a one-half horsepower outboard. From there his boats continued to increase in size. He moved to the Lake of the Ozarks area in 2001.

In 2002 he completed a US Coast Guard class through Worldwide Marine to earn his OUPV (Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels) and vessel assist USCG License. The following year he upgraded to a 25-ton grade Master. Captain Beck currently holds a 100 -Ton Master.

Captain Beck provides charter work and operates boats for water taxi, Celebration, Tow Boat US, The Lake Hopper and Playin' Hooky. He offers boating operating lessons through Freedom Boat Club and is a certified instructor by the National Safe Boating Council. 

In 2017, Captain Beck and Captain Doug May founded the Captains Association of the Lake of the Ozarks. The association grew in membership to include captains that operated in all of the major Missouri water ways. Today it is known as the Captain Association of Missouri. It is a professional not-for-profit organization for coast guard licensed captains who operate primarily on Missouri waterways and serve the maritime public.

Captain’s Association of Missouri seeks to promote safety, education and good fellowship between operators and The Lake of the Ozarks Water Safety Council, the United States Coast Guard, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Patrol Division.


Currently the association has over 100 members.  The membership dues are returned to the community in the form of scholarships, donations to hurricane victims, boater education seminars and more. It also provides the "hire a captain" service in which individuals can request captain services, group charters, boating lessons, boat delivery, fishing guides and other water transportation needs.


A result of the Captains Association's services, Captain Beck has provided captains service for the television series “Beyond Oak Island” search for a sunken steamboat near Boonville, Missouri. He supplied boats for film crew, the director and cast of "Curse of Oak Island." He also starred in a production of the Discovery Channel Kids and Outdoors in which he taught a young person how to operate a boat, boating ethics and enjoyment of boating life.

"The captain’s credentials has opened a world of enjoyment and opportunities," he said.  "As they say, it is not work if you get to do what you love."



Captain Bob May 

 Captain May was born and raised in Kansas City. He attended  NW Missouri State University and also served three years in the US Army with one tour in Vietnam.

In 1974 he married his wife and band member Maureen. They played together in a band called the rock band "Festival" for three years. Maureen then got her first music teaching position and May his first job in radio.

Soon after being married they attended a wedding at the Lake. They rented a boat and two week later owned a boat of their own. Over the years they owned various vessels and took many boating courses, including the US Coast Guard eight weekend class. In 2012 May took the OUPV Captain's Course and two years later upgraded to the 50-Ton Master.

Captain May joined the Water Safety Council in its second year of operation and he and Captain Beck formed the Lake of the Ozarks Captain's Association. He is also a trainer for the Freedom Boat Club.

Captain May is a Certified National Safe Boating Council trainer and helped to form Lake of the Ozarks Boat Safety Training. In May of 2007, Bob's No Wake Zone website came to life, and in 2011 the radio show Bob's No Wake Zone Boating Show began airing.

"Now it's 13 years later and I've completed and aired nearly 700 one-hour shows featuring over 2500 guests covering all kinds of boating topics," he explained. "There's a lot of boating and water safety information, new products, technology, basics and commensense topics.

The show began on KKD FM in Clinton and then moved to KRMS AM in Osage Beach. "Mo and I had always planned to live here, but this helped with that transition," he said. "People ask what I'm going to talk about on my winter shows. There's boating safety, boat shows, projects that the Water Safety Council has underway, and urging people to wear their life jackets and hire a Licensed USCG Captain if they plan on drinking while boating."

These are just a few captains that operate marine related businesses at The Lake of The Ozarks. If you're interested in becoming a licensed captain start by enrolling in a reputable certified USCG class. Two options include Worldwide Marine Training or Mariners Learning System