Safety stressed at Lake Mead during busy boating season - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Safety stressed at Lake Mead during busy boating season

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Lake Mead appears on the horizon in this photo from Monday, Nov. 10. (Les Krifaton/FOX5) Lake Mead appears on the horizon in this photo from Monday, Nov. 10. (Les Krifaton/FOX5)

As boating season gets underway the Nevada Department of Wildlife has been pleading for people to wear their life vests when they hit the lake. Two people who didn't need a reminder were 10-year-old Mabry, and her 11-year-old cousin Baylee. On Friday, they were already suited up, life vest and all, ready for some water activities. 

"It's important to wear the life vest because you just don't know how deep the water is," Baylee said. "You could easily fall in and drown."

And she's right. Drowning remains the leading cause of death at Lake Mead. On average, eight people drown every year. Last year there were 13. The Nevada Department of Wildlife said the easiest way to prevent that is wear a life vest. 

"People just don't want to wear them," Nick Duhe with the Department of Wildlife said. "You hear people say, 'Oh I'm a really good swimmer,' or "I've been doing this for years."

Ninety-eight percent of the people who drown at Lake Mead were men, and their average age is 36. 

"Boating season is under way and the best thing to do is wear a life jacket. It's the easiest thing you can do to keep safe," Duhe said. 

Seven million people visited Lake Mead last year. Officials said no matter how many times you've been, there the best thing to do is always treat it like your first time. Water levels fluctuate frequently, exposing islands and rocks, and hiding landmarks you may be used to seeing. 

RELATED: As temperatures rise, Lake Mead urges visitors to use caution

VIDEO: Safety tips for Lake Mead Recreational Area

Nevada Department of Wildlife also wanted to remind everyone a life vest is necessary for every person on the boat. If the person is 12 year old or younger, they have to wear that vest whenever the boat is not docked. There are also very different rules for Arizona, California and Nevada so anyone boating in a different state should check boating guidelines, life vest requirements and more. 

*UPDATE: A previous version of this story said anyone under 12 has to wear a life vest. The law actually states anyone 12 years old or younger. 

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