A total of 16 boaters are safe after two separate boating accidents at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and in at least one of the incidents, life jackets lived up to their name.
Thursday, August 6, was a windy day at Lake Mead, even by local standards, with gusts over 50 miles per hour. At 2:15 p.m. rangers at Lake Mead were notified by the marina staff at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor that people were reported to be in the water after a boat sinking near Castle Cove, on the Arizona side of Lake Mead.
Marina personnel and rangers responded, and found six members of a family from Bakersfield, California. They were in the water for about an hour, the time it took help to respond to their distant location. They reported their boat had swamped by four-foot waves.
"All had life jackets on which most certainly saved their lives," said Andrew Muñoz, spokesman for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
There was one injury: a woman in her 60's suffered minor lacerations and exhaustion. She was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
Staff from the Las Vegas Boat Harbor were first on the scene with two boats, and they pulled three people from the water.
"The marinas on the lake play a vital role in responding to calls for help on the lake. Like yesterday, they never hesitate to rush to the aid of boaters in trouble," said William Dickinson, superintendent of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Several hours later a second group of boaters had a narrow escape. At about 9:32 p.m. rangers received a report from Las Vegas Metro P.D. that 10 people were stranded after their boat sank.
Park spokesman Andrew Muñoz said all 10 were aboard a 23-foot boat which departed Callville Bay Marina, but then began taking on water almost immediately and eventually sank. The operator of the boat and all of the passengers were able to make it safely to shore near Sandy Cove
All of the victims were picked up by NPS boats. At the time of the incident, winds were still gusting over 30 m.p.h.
After a rash of water-based incidents with tragic endings earlier this season, it's encouraging to hear about boaters who use life jackets, so those devices can live up to their names.