Visitors to Lake Mead are reminded by park officials to remember the acronym L.A.K.E. which emphasizes the importance of life jackets, no alcohol, weather conditions, and attention to swimmers and boaters.
Boating Safety on Lake Mead
Boating accidents on Lake Mead are common due to large numbers of boaters, adverse weather conditions, and topographical features of the lake. In some areas near the shoreline and narrows or coves, choppy waves create dangerous boating conditions with waves as high as three or four feet. Due to hazardous conditions, many areas on the lake are not safe for boaters and swimmers.
To protect Lake Mead visitors from accidents and injuries, officials urge people to remember an important acronym – L.A.K.E. – which emphasizes boating safety.
- L – Life jackets save lives. Wear it!
- A – Alcohol. If you drink it, don’t drive or operate a vessel
- K – Know the weather. Know your limits
- E – Eyes on the kids, eyes on the water, and eyes on fellow boaters
Covering 247 square miles, Lake Mead has the largest reservoir in the United States when it’s full. However, when water levels are low, rocks and sandbars just below the surface of the water pose dangers to boaters who are not aware of them, until they hit them. Recently, Lake Mead Park Rangers rescued 17 people from two boats, one that sank and one that was partially submerged. There were nine people, including one pregnant woman, two children, and one infant in the water. The infant and multiple other victims were not wearing life jackets and were exhausted from swimming for more than one hour. Eight victims were stranded on the shore where their boat crashed into rocks.
Lake Mead has a high number of boating accidents each year. In 2013, Lake Mead ranked fifth in the U.S. for boating accidents. In 2017, Lake Mead was cited as the deadliest lake in the U.S. with 254 deaths due to boating accidents, injuries, and drownings. According to lake officials, most accidents are caused by inexperienced boaters, speeding drivers, drunk drivers or impaired drivers on drugs, and lack of boating safety training.
Just east of Las Vegas, Lake Mead is a popular destination for boaters, swimmers, rafters, scuba divers, canoers, and kayakers that take advantage of warm, year-round weather. Every year, more than 10 million people visit Lake Mead, so boating safety is a major concern.