Rangers Remind People of Loaner Life Jackets at Lake Mead | News
Thousands of people will be flocking to Lake Mead to enjoy the final holiday weekend of the summer, which is why the park rangers are reminding everyone of the park's new life jacket loaner station.
The lifejacket loaner stations were set up at Boulder Beach and Cottonwood Cove Memorial Day weekend. The life jackets range in size from infant to adult.
Visitors can borrow the jackets at no cost, use them during the day and return them before they leave.
A study of unintentional deaths at Lake Mead over the past five years showed that the number one cause was drowning. In 2012 and 2013, 100 percent of drowning victims were not wearing life jackets, the park service said.
A follow-up study found that only 10 percent of all swimmers wore a traditional personal floatation device.
Park ranger Stephen Neel has seen the problem first hand. Earlier this year, he responded to a call of two women using pool toys at Boulder Beach being swept away by wind and unable to swim back to shore.
He was able to rescue them by boat; however, not everyone is that lucky.
“We have to bring awareness of the importance of wearing a lifejacket. People think they don’t need a life jacket when they swim at Lake Mead. We want to change that thought process,” Neel said.
The life jacket program was established on the shores, because boating laws require a minimum of one life jacket for each person on board. Children 12 years and younger are required to wear lifejackets while boating.
The study of life jacket use at the lake will continue through the last few weeks of warm weather. Volunteers will be gathering information on who is using the lifejacket loaner stations.
Results of the survey should be ready by November.