LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Lake Mead National Recreation Area sees a lot of traffic during holiday weekends.
With Labor Day right around the corner, the National Park Service (NPS) staff have a safety warning.
As people take to the water, the National Park Service said they’ve seen an increase in dangerous and deadly behavior. Everything from operating under the influence to thefts and unsafe activities.
John Haynes, public affairs officer for Lake Mead National Recreation Area, shared stats with 8 News Now.
There have been 99 driving under the influence cases in 2023 as of August 15th.
10 of those cases were boating under the influence (BUI) investigations. Cases such as that along with other fatalities have risen year over year.
Lake Mead had a deadly Father’s Day weekend with crashes, drownings, and a suicide.
In early August, a couple was killed in a BUI incident.
Haynes said the department is looking into why those and other fatalities are on the rise, but he said it’s tough to tell.
“We’ve got a lot of folks who weren’t normally here, so they don’t always know or follow the rules on how to act.”
Visitors range from newcomers to tourists coming for an Instagram-worthy shot.
8 News Now caught up with Joel Smith and his family by the boat ramps.
Before taking off, he shared that he’d been boating at Lake Mead for 20 years and loved visiting.
To avoid the hassle of crowds and inexperienced mariners, he boats weekdays to secluded areas.
“That would be my recommendation for other people,” Smith said. “Keep your space, find a safe spot, make sure everyone has lifejackets, stay hydrated, use your flag, and stay visible.”
Haynes also said to prepare for the weather and the water.
“We had a lot of drownings this year, not one person that drowned in this lake was wearing a life jacket,” Haynes said.
There are life jacket loaner stations by the beach.
Haynes said there have been a lot of fatalities at Lake Mead during three-day weekends.
Parks Service and the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) share patrol duties at Lake Mead, but their data is separate.
NDOW spokesperson Nick Duhe said their game wardens have already dealt with eight reportable accidents on Lake Mead and two operating under the influence (OUI) investigations.
There will be more park service wildlife staff and law enforcement at the lake. Their presence is an effort to make it a fun and safe Labor Day weekend.
Park officials also added that pool toys aren’t allowed because they are drowning hazards.