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Boating regulations at Lake Mead

When the temperature soars, boating on Lake Mead is an excellent way to beat the summer heat. With nearly 300 square miles of waterways and numerous secluded coves to explore, there is an outdoor adventure just waiting for you to discover.

Knowing about Lake Mead’s boating regulations before head out to the lake is the best way to make sure you and your passengers stay safe on the water.

n Operator restrictions. Any individual under 18 years of age and all Nevada residents born after Dec. 31, 1982, must pass a proficiency exam or successfully complete a boater education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators to legally operate any motorboat with more than 15 horsepower.

Residents of states other than Nevada who are 18 or older must meet the requirements operating a boat in their state of residence.

A list of approved boating safety courses is available on the NASBLA website at nasbla.org. Individuals interested in received a certificate can complete the online course at their own pace and retake the final exam as many times as necessary to earn a passing score. The certificate of completion is available for print and should be carried while operating any vessel as proof of qualification.

There is no minimum age requirement to complete the online course. However, any person operating a boat while towing a passenger on water skis, an inner tube or any other device must be at least 16 years of age or 14 years of age if supervised by an adult 18 years or older.

■ Alcohol consumption. Nevada andArizona state laws prohibit the operation of a watercraft while drunk or under the influence of controlled substances. Operating a boat under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 or above is punishable by monetary fines and/or jail time.

■ Personal flotation devices. Lifejackets are lifesavers, even for the most proficient swimmers, and boaters should never leave shore without them.

Every vessel must carry at least one U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device for each person on board and the lifejacket must be the proper size for the user. Anyone on board a vessel up to 12 years of age must wear a lifejacket at all times.

■ Fire extinguishers. Any boat, 26 feet in length or longer, with a covered or closed compartment or carrying any volatile liquid, including fuel, with a flash point higher than 110 degrees F, must carry a fire extinguisher. The extinguisher must be stored in a location where it is readily available in case of emergency.

■ Regulatory markers. Regulatory markers indicate flat wake and restricted zones. Vessels must maintain flat wake speed of 5 mph in any area with a “No Wake Buoy” and within 200 feet of a downed water skier or swimmer. Designated swim areas are off limits for boats and indicated by white buoys with an orange cross inside an orange diamond.

■ Waste disposal. Dumping any garbage, wood byproduct, organic material, or any other substance that can harm wildlife or fish is strictly prohibited. Pumping stations for emptying sewage holding tanks are available at all Lake Mead National Recreation Area marinas.

■ Regulation enforcement. Law enforcement personnel regularly patrol the waterways at Lake Mead to ensure the safety of everyone. Authorized personnel may board any vessel on the lake at any time to verify compliance with regulations.

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