The Missouri State Highway Patrol tested new extended Water Patrol shifts this Memorial Day weekend. Water Patrol Captain Matt Walz said troopers with previous water patrol experience have been added to lake staff this year as well. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to boating season, meaning these new staffing strategies were tested full-force for the holiday. The new approach comes after one legislator pushed to separate the water patrol from the highway patrol earlier this year. The water patrol joined forces with the highway patrol in 2011, in an effort to save the state $3 million per year. Representative Diane Franklin from Camdenton proposed a de-merger bill in January, suggesting a split from the MSHP would give the water patrol the money and resources necessary to be effective.