LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Preparing for a big holiday weekend at the end of a deadly summer, Lake Mead officials are putting the focus on safety — both on the shore and in the water.
“We want to end the summer here on a high note for all visitors and staff,” Superintendent Mike Gauthier said in a Thursday news release. “We have had 23 fatalities and many serious incidents this year and we need your help to arrest the trend.”
8 News Now reported on Wednesday that there will be an increased law enforcement presence at the lake this weekend involving the National Park Service (NPS) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW). Both agencies patrol the lake.
“Remember to boat and drive safely. Two recent fatalities involved high speed and inattentive boating,” according to the NPS news release. “The tragedy was completely avoidable.”
Paul Robinson, 57, faces charges in the Aug. 12 crash that killed Terry Farris, 48, and Stacia Gardner, 42. And before that crash, six deaths were reported over Father’s Day weekend, including three deaths in a multiple-car crash.
NPS reminds everyone to “drive like a tortoise,” watch for hazards and wildlife, and be considerate of other travelers. Do not drink and drive and follow all the rules while boating.
“With water levels up, we have had a busy summer. Let’s finish it on a positive note,” Gauthier said. After serving as acting superintendent at Lake Mead since December 2022, Gauthier was selected this week as the permanent superintendent beginning in mid-September.
NPS noted that temperatures are still above 100 degrees and recommended that people drink plenty of water. Avoid strenuous activity and prolonged exposure to the sun when temperatures are this high, and know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. “Watch out for each other,” NPS said.
Another swimmer died last week without a life jacket, NPS said. Pool toys are prohibited at the lake because they pose a danger in attracting children into the water. Pool toys do not provide sufficient floatation and can be easily popped.
Storms are possible at the lake, with a flood watch issued for Lake Mead and the Colorado River Valley through Saturday night.
Two weeks ago, a violent monsoon storm tore through the Las Vegas Boat Harbor, causing damages that could cost more than $1 million to repair.