March 2006

State Joins Tri-State Campaign To Improve Boating Safety At Lakes Mead And Mohave

Boating-Safety Day Planned At Lake Mead on May 20

AZBW NEWS SERVICE — The Arizona Game and Fish Department has joined with representatives from the National Park Service, the California Department of Boating and Waterways, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Personal Watercraft Industry Association to create a partnership to promote boating safety and reduce boating accidents and fatalities in the Lake Mead National Recreation area — which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.

The creation of the "Lake Mead Safe Boating Partnership" was announced during a press conference at the Los Angeles Boat Show on Jan 31.

"Approximately 8-10 million visitors come to Lake Mead National Recreation Area each year," said Lake Mead National Recreation Area Superintendent Bill Dickinson. "Fortunately most boaters have an enjoyable time, free of any incidents, but even one boating tragedy is one too many, especially because most boating accidents are completely avoidable. Because so many of our boaters are from California, Arizona, and Nevada, it made perfect sense for all of us to join forces," Dickinson said.

There were 149 boating accidents and four boating fatalities on the two lakes in 2005 — the Lake Mead Safe Boating Partnership aims to bring these numbers down — the National Park Service said.

The Park Service said about half of all visitors at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area come from out-of-state, particularly California.

Because each state has its own set of boating laws, the Lake Mead Safe Boating Partnership advises boaters to "play it safe" by following the strictest of guidelines, which include wearing a lifejacket at all times, always taking a boating-safety course before leaving the dock or marina and never operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These are guidelines the partnership advises all boaters to follow. In some cases, they might be required by law.

Boating laws for Arizona, California, and Nevada are summarized and can be reviewed at and

For instance, anyone born after Jan. 1, 1983 must carry proof of having passed a boating-safety course to operate a boat in the state of Nevada, which includes Lake Mead, In other cases, any boater 12 years or younger must wear a lifejacket at all times, and anyone riding a personal watercraft, regardless of age, must wear a lifejacket at all times.

Additionally, most drownings involve boaters who aren’t wearing a lifejacket and who have not taken a boating-safety course, the Park Service said. For this reason, the partnership wants boaters of all ages and boating experience to follow its guidelines and treat them as the "rules of the road."

"Many Californians would consider Lake Mead and Lake Mohave among their top boating destinations," said California Department of Boating and Waterways Director Raynor Tsuneyoshi.