Low water levels create danger at Lake Mead - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Low water levels create danger at Lake Mead

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Boats appear on Lake Mead in this undated file photo (FILE/FOX5) Boats appear on Lake Mead in this undated file photo (FILE/FOX5)

Memorial Day weekend is underway and the National Park Service is prepared for massive crowds.

It's anticipated upwards of 300,000 people will visit Lake Mead National Recreation Area over the holiday weekend. The lake has been at historic low levels, which presents danger to boaters.

The first thing boaters need to think about is a life jacket.

"This will save your life. Of all the people that have drowned at Lake Mead in the last few years, they weren't wearing their life jacket. Those who wear life jackets, they make it home and make it back out to the lake for another day," Lake Mead National Recreation Area Public Affairs Officer Christie Vanover said.

In addition, every boat should have two experienced drivers.

"Drownings here, it's usually the boat operator who jumps in the water, and then no one else on board knows how to get the boat to reach them. So make sure you've got at least two boat operators on every vessel," Vanover said.

If you haven't boated at Lake Mead lately, you will notice a difference.

"Some of those traditional areas that you went before are going to be a little more crowded because of the lack of water in those bays," said David Pfiffner with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Boaters need to watch out for shallow water warnings.

"If there's a buoy with a diamond in it, that means a danger area. There may be a rock there. There may be some other type of obstruction there. They have to pay attention to the rules of the road on the water. It's just like driving a car," Pfiffner said.

Boaters should look for discoloration in the water, which may signal shallow depth.

The National Park Service reported all launch ramps at Lake Mead are open, but some lanes will be closed due to low water levels. Boaters can expect congestion and delays.

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