Boaters on Lake Mead taking precautions after another death in park

LAS VEGAS - Officials at Lake Mead National Recreation Area put out a warning for visitors about possible severe storms with strong winds for Sunday afternoon. 

Boaters at the park appeared to be heading the warning.

"We wanted to go wakeboarding, but it's like choppy because I guess there's supposed to be a thunderstorm out today," said Giovanna Coelho, Lake Mead visitor. 

The warning comes just a day after a 38-year-old man from California died on Lake Mohave during a thunderstorm.

Dispatchers received the distress call around 7:30 p.m. on Saturday about a possible drowning. 

The victim was reportedly helping a neighboring houseboat which broke from shore during the storm, according to Lake Mead NRA officials. 

The victim became entangled in one of the spike lines. As the houseboat drifted away, it pulled the victim underwater, investigators said.

He was not wearing a life jacket.

Life jackets are something boater Greg McKay from Boulder City says is essential for safety because you never know when the weather will turn. 

"It can definitely kick up in a hurry and this lake gets really bad really quick," McKay said.  

McKay remembers a trip he took with his son and some friends where they experienced treacherous waters first hand.

"As soon as we left our cove, it was so bad that we ended up staying an extra night," McKay explained.

It's the unforeseen circumstances that make preparation so important in when out in nature. 

If you're out on a boat, officials have provided the following safety procedures:

  • Check the forecast before hitting the water. Sunny mornings may turn into dangerous afternoons, especially during monsoon season.
  • Have a way to communicate. Cell phone reception is limited. Tune your marine band radio to channel 16 or 22A.
  • Take a GPS on the water, so if you get stranded, you can tell emergency crews where you are.
  • If you see a storm approaching, head to a sheltered cove or inlet. It’s easier to escape a storm before it hits. Boat ramps become crowded after the storm arrives.
  • Get all swimmers and skiers out of the water.
  • Strong winds create large waves. When waves get choppy while boating, have everyone on board put on a life jacket.
  • If your boat becomes disabled during a storm, throw an anchor or empty bucket attached by a line into the water to slow drifting.
  • Secure loose items under seats, in storage areas or in the center of the boat.
  • Be prepared to spend the night on your boat or on shore, by packing extra food, water and blankets.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you will return.

The Clark County Coroner's Office will release the identity of the victim of Saturday's incident which is still under investigation. 


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