Lake Mead National Recreation Area


Overview| Climate/Maps | Description | Things To Do | Nearby/Resources

Invasive Mussel Found at Lake Mead
Live quagga mussels (a nuisance invasive species closely related to, and commonly referred to as zebra mussels) were discovered in Lake Mead on January 6 at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor marina. In order to not spread the mussel to Lake Mohave and other bodies of water please follow the suggestions below.

Effective ways boaters (including personal watercraft, canoe, and kayak users) and fisherman can ensure that their boats, vehicles, trailers and other equipment do not become the means of infecting other waters:

  • Drain the water from your motor, live well, and bilge on land before leaving the immediate area of the lake.    
  • Flush the motor and bilges with hot, soapy water or a 5% solution of household bleach.
  • Completely inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull.  These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
  • Wash the hull, equipment, bilge and any other exposed surface with hot, soapy water or use a 5% solution of household bleach.
  • Clean and wash your trailer, truck or any other equipment that comes in contact with lake water.  Mussels can live in small pockets anywhere water collects.
  • Air-dry the boat and other equipment for at least five days before launching in any other waterway.
  • Do not reuse bait once it has been exposed to infested waters.
    Additional information can be found at the and

Lifejackets or Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Boaters must have a minimum of one good and serviceable U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each person on board their vessel. PFD's must fit the intended user this includes children and infants. All persons 12 years or younger must wear a PFD while on board a vessel. All boats 16 feet or over must have a USCG-approved type IV (throwable) PFD on board in addition to PFD’s for each individual. For Personal Water Crafts a minimum of one USCG approved PFD must be worn by each person on board.

All boats must be numbered according to the rules and regulations established by the states. Numbers must be displayed properly on boat hull and valid registration papers must be carried on the vessel.
Navigation Lights
Lights authorized by Nevada and Arizona state law must be added if the vessel is operated between sunset and sunrise.
Fire Extinguisher and a throwable PFD on board a boat

Fire Extinguisher
All vessels carrying, as fuel, any volatile liquid having a flash point of 110°F of more or less, and all vessels with any closed or covered compartments, must have a fire extinguisher immediately available. Boats of open construction under 26 feet in length are not required to have an extinguisher, but it is recommended. PWCs must have a serviceable B-I USCG fire extinguisher on board.

PWCs must have a lanyard-type cut-off switch that is attached to the operator.

Safe Boating Course
Effective January 1, 2003, all operators of vessels powered by a motor over 15 horsepower on interstate waters and were born on or after January 1, 1983, must possess a certificate of completion for a boater education course or proficiency exam.

Boating Accidents
All boating accidents must be reported to the National Park Service within 24 hours.
General Information

Boarding Vessels
A boat may be boarded at any time by an authorized person to determine compliance with regulations.

Parasailing is permitted in areas where waterskiing is permitted.

Regulatory Markers
Flat Wake
A flat wake speed, not exceeding 5 m.p.h. is required while in areas posted with a "No Wake" buoy or within 200 feet of a swimmer or a downed water-skier. Nevada also requires a vessel to approach no closer than 200 feet to an occupied beach.
Restricted Areas
Restricted areas are marked by white buoys with an orange diamond shape with a cross inside the diamond having an orange band above and below the cross. ALL BOATERS KEEP OUT.
Dive Flag
In Nevada you must be at flat wake speed within 100 feet of a diver-down flag. In addition to the flat wake restriction, in Nevada a boat may not approach a diver-down flag closer than 100 feet.
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Prohibited Activities

Bow Riding
No operator shall permit any person to ride on the gunwales, transom, or on the decking over the bow of a vessel propelled by machinery while the vessel is being operated above a flat wake speed or 5 m.p.h.
Time and Place
No vessel shall be operated within an area designated by a uniform waterway marker or a white buoy, having a horizontal international orange band at the top and bottom and an international orange diamond with a cross on the white portion of the buoy, or between a line of such markers or buoys. No motorboat shall be operated within 200 feet of any designated swimming area, except within marked channels in which instance a wakeless or 5 m.p.h. speed shall be maintained. All vessels shall proceed with due caution and at a wakeless speed or no more than 5 m.p.h. within 200 feet of any diver's flag, designated by a standard square-shaped flag containing a white diagonal stripe on a red field. No vessel shall be operated in excess of a wakeless speed or 5 m.p.h. within designated harbors or in any area designated by a uniform waterway marker or white buoy having a horizontal international orange band at the top and bottom and an international orange circle with a black "5 m.p.h." or "wakeless speed" therein on the white portions of the buoy or between a line of such buoys and the nearest shore. No vessel shall be operated on any waters which are zoned or marked as migratory bird waters or for fish cultural or wildlife uses. No vessel shall approach any dam or other engineering works closer than the limits posted with appropriate signs or markers. The operator of a motorboat must maintain a flat wake within 100 feet of a swimmer or downed water skier.

Operating a boat which produces a noise in excess of 82 decibels measured at 82 feet is prohibited. Not all muffled engines will meet this requirement. No vessel shall be equipped with, nor shall any person install upon a vessel a siren, whether operable or not, except for authorized emergency and enforcement vessels.

Drugs, Alcohol and Reckless Operation
Operating a vessel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or operating a vessel in a reckless or negligent manner. Any person who operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel under power or sail on the water shall be deemed to have given his consent to an evidentiary test of his blood, urine, breath or other bodily substance for the purpose of determining the alcohol content of his blood or the presence of a controlled substance.

Age Limits
In Arizona, no person under 12 years of age may operate a motorcraft propelled by a motor of greater than eight horsepower. In Nevada a personal watercraft operator must be 14 years or older.

No boat shall be so equipped as to permit discharge from or through its marine toilet, or in any other manner, any sewage at any time into these waters, nor shall any container of sewage be placed, left, discharged or caused to be placed, left, or discharged in or near any of these waters by any person at any time whether or not they are the owner, operator, guest or occupant of a boat. Pumping stations for emptying sewage from holding tanks are located at all marinas. It is prohibited for any person to place or dump or allow to be placed or dumped at any time into these waters any organic substance, wood byproduct, garbage, or any substance deleterious to fish or wildlife.

Regulatory Markers
Attaching a vessel to or interfering with any marker, navigational buoy or other navigational aid is prohibited.

Fishing is prohibited in any harbor or marina within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Hovercraft and Airboats
Use of hovercraft and airboats is prohibited.

Wake Jumping
Operator must not operate a PWC within 60 feet or 5 boat lengths of another vessel unless operating at a wakeless speed. Operators must not head into the wake of another vessel.
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A person operating a vessel towing another person on water skis, a surfboard, an inflatable device or any similar device must be at least 14 years of age or at least 12 years of age if a passenger in the vessel is 21 years of age or older and is in a position to supervise the operator.

In addition to the operator of the vessel, there must be one person observing the person being towed. In Nevada, the observer must be at least 12 years old (10 years of age if a 21 year-old is aboard the boat).
Ski Flag

The observer shall continuously observe the person being towed. and shall immediately display so as to be visible from every direction, an international orange flag of at least 12 inches in height by 12 inches in width when the person being towed is getting ready to be towed and has a rope or line extended to him, or ceases to be towed and is in the water awaiting pickup by the vessel.

Water skiers shall wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device.

Time and Place
Skiing is permitted only between sunrise and sunset (daylight hours). No person may operate a vessel towing a person or persons on water skis, a surfboard or similar device in any areas so posted or within 500 feet of harbor entrances, swimming beaches and mooring areas, or within 100 feet of any person swimming, fishing or diving.

Carrying Capacity
A person shall not operate a vessel towing a person on water skis, a surfboard, an inflatable device or any similar device, unless the manufacturer's safe loading capacity for the vessel is three or more persons; operator, observer and person being towed.
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More Information

Free Guides
Nevada Boating Access Guide, a complimentary booklet published by the Nevada Division of Wildlife, is your guide to most of Nevada's boating access areas and launch facilities, both public and private. To receive your copy please write to: Nevada Division of Wildlife; P.O. Box 10678; Reno, NV, 89520 The Arizona Boating Guide is published by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and is your guide to current rules and regulations for recreational boating in Arizona. To receive your copy please write to: Arizona Game and Fish Department; 2221 W. Greenway Road; Phoenix, AZ, 85023

National Park Service

24-HourEmergency-Only Dispatch Number
Or Marine Band Channel 16




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