Back in April, I went to the Lake of the Ozarks for a mini-vacation and a much needed getaway. I was afraid the lake wouldn’t have much to offer that early in the season, but I quickly learned that the warmer temperatures and upcoming summer season brought many folks out to the big lake in mid-Missouri.
One of the first businesses I wanted to reach out to was to the owners of a fun lake service called Playin Hooky Water Taxi & Charters, LLC, a water taxi/party boat/bar hopping transport service. I expected a quick 10 minute conversation with the owner and ended up talking with Jim Bascue for 30 minutes, discussing everything from the services they provide to boat safety and what it’s like to own a lake business like his. I enjoyed talking to Jim immensely and looked forward to my summer vacation in July when I would finally get to take a ride on one of their boats! Unfortunately time did not permit a ride this summer, but I did drive out to see them up close and personal and vowed to catch a ride when I return in 2016!
Water Taxi Business
Jim said he first started his business 5 years ago after he retired from UPS. Like many people from the city, he spent his summers at Lake of the Ozarks and decided to make the lake a semi-retirement lifestyle. After retiring, his wife jokingly told him he needed to find a way to make money with his boat and a taxi business was born. His idea started with wanting to help the younger families get around on the lake, where they couldn’t afford to purchase or rent a boat of their own and were on a limited vacation budget. With 92 miles of lake and a shoreline that rivals the coast of Florida, the lake can be a difficult place to get around. He began by transporting folks between water front bars, restaurants, lake front homes and condos. Jim said the new concept took a while to catch on at first. What started off as a small water taxi service has evolved into a much bigger business over the past few years.
In his second year operating Playin Hooky, Jim bought a bigger boat so he could carry more people and pick up larger groups like bachelorette parties, wedding parties and corporate groups. The first commercial boat he purchased was able to carry 36 passengers. This past winter, he purchased his second boat able to carry 49 passengers. Both boats are operating on the lake today.
Although Playin Hooky’s water taxi prices haven’t changed in five years, a new service they started this summer has made those prices even cheaper: The Aqua Shuttle. The Aqua Shuttle is a service similar to their water taxi, but after you pay $20 one time, you can ride all night between six different popular bar and grills in three locations.
Eventually Jim hopes to expand the Aqua Shuttle, but plans to stick to the lake area between the dam and the 14 MM.
Playin’ Hooky’s boats are also available as a general charter service and for lake tours. The 36 passenger boat is available for chartering or tours at $325.00 an hour and the 49 passenger boat is available for $425 hour. There is a 4 hour minimum on Fridays and Saturdays and a 2 hour minimum any other day of the week.
Playin Hooky operates a weekly bar hop cruise as well as three holiday-specific cruises. There are a total of 5 bar hop cruises running on Fridays and Saturdays weekly. Each cruise is four hours long. The noon cruise on Fridays and Saturdays leaves from Millstone Marina and the 1pm cruise on Fridays and Saturdays leaves from Beavers at the Dam. Then there is also a night time cruise leaving from Millstone Marina at 7 pm. Each cruise costs between $30 – $35 a person, and limited seating is available so call ahead at 573-434-2627 or make a reservation online at: http://www.ozarkwatertaxiandcharters.com/book-now-playin-hooky-services/
Playin Hooky also participates in the Lake of the Ozarks Harbor Hop Poker Run on the Water every spring and fall. Playin Hooky chauffeurs guests to participating waterfront bars in the poker tournament. During the Lake of the Ozarks fireworks show, Playin Hooky operates a one and a half hour cruise for guests to enjoy the fireworks from the water.
For More Information, see their website at http://www.playinhookyatthelake.com/
For Yelp Reviews visit: http://www.yelp.com/biz/playin-hooky-water-taxi-and-charters-gravois-mills
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