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Ranger offers life-saving advice to Lake Mead boaters | News

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Ranger offers life-saving advice to Lake Mead boaters
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LAS VEGAS -- Memorial Day weekend is just a few weeks away and Lake Mead will be packed with visitors as they kick off the summer season.

Summer can also be a dangerous season at the lake because of inexperienced boaters. Statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard show 80 percent of people in boating accidents never took a class to prepare them for handling a boat.

From land to water, the laws get looser. 

Lt. Michael Maynard, a Nevada Fish and Wildlife warden, says added elements like wind and waves can make boating harder than driving a car. On a lake, a minor accident can end with a drowning.

"A completely survivable boat accident, if someone gets ejected overboard, can become a fatality," Maynard said.

8 News NOW joined the game warden for the ride as he patrolled Lake Mead.

Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1983 needs to pass an online test and carry an education card.

Boaters are also required to have safety equipment on-board.

Maynard is a stickler when it comes to life jackets. He's pulled more bodies out of the water than he can count.

"You know what, I've lost track," he said. 

Last year, there were 82 boating accidents on the lake. One crash killed two people. Another five drowned while swimming from a boat.

Those numbers keep Maynard vigilant about checking boats and giving warnings.

People who boat without an education card face a $115 ticket.

"Hopefully at some point it will be like your drivers license or perhaps even a certification on your driver's license just to reflect the seriousness of what you're doing," Maynard said.

Until then, he'll continue to make his rounds and hope people educate themselves for their own safety.

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