Emergency Proceedures - Call 911
1. Contact the nearest Ranger Station or Park Ranger on duty, or
2. Telephone the National Park Service 24-hour Communications Center at 702-293-8932 or 1-800-680-5851 and they will notify the nearest Park Ranger. The Communications Center also monitors Marine Band emergency channels 16 and 22.
3. Area Ranger Stations are manned intermittently; therefore, the following numbers should be used for information purposes only.
Callville Bay (702) 565-8958
Temple Bar (928) 767-3401
Willow Beach (928) 767-4747
Cottonwood Cove (702) 297-1229
Katherine Landing (928) 754-3272
Hemenway (702) 293-1191
University Medical Center (UMC), information phone and emergency 24-hour phone number 702-383-3603 (diving physician is always on call) or call 911 and await transport by ambulance to the emergency room in Las Vegas.
University of California, Catalina Island chamber, emergency phone 310-510-1053.
Call the Medical Alert Center, Los Angeles, 213-221-4114. They will contact the U.S. Coast Guard and Catalina chamber and will make all pre-arrival arrangements.
Fly direct to the Los Angeles International Airport, where the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter will pick-up and deliver to Catalina.
Call the San Diego County Lifeguard Service, 619-224-2708, and they will handle the local arrangements and proper notification.
University Medical Center Life Flight Emergency Number 619-543-3683 USS McKee United States Sub-Tender (Don Ingram) Tender - 619-224-2735 Submarine Flotilla Operations - 619-225-6818
REMEMBER: Whenever a diving accident victim goes to a chamber for treatment the following information is necessary:
1. Victim's full name and age.
2. Victim's symptoms and treatment administered after discovery.
3. Profile of dives, depths and bottom times during past 12 hours before accident.
4. Depth and bottom time of last dive (or during dive) before accident.
5. Brief description of accident and names of witnesses.
6. Flight number or airline, estimated time of arrival and airport. Include airplane's pressurized altitude if possible. (If using the back-up chambers in California)
Lake Mead - the following are areas closed to diving:
1. Above and below Hoover and Davis dams.
2. The portion of the Lower Overton Arm of Lake Mead, from a northern boundary at approximately Latitude N. 36° 15' to a southern boundary at approximately Latitude N. 36° 10', and from the western shoreline to the eastern shoreline, to be closed to SCUBA and all forms of underwater diving unless a permit has been issued by the Chief Ranger's office.
The restriction is necessary to protect a sensitive archaeological resource, the submerged B-29 aircraft, while the National Park Service completes a resource protection plan for the area. The B-29, and the site upon which it rests, are managed by the National Park Service under the National Historic Preservation Act. Permits for scuba diving in this area may be obtained by contacting the Chief Ranger's Office at (702) 293-8908. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3. All designated boat harbors. Divers employed by concessioners diving on official business and special events approved by the National Park Service are exempt from this restriction.
4. Southern Nevada Water Project water intake tunnel and the water intake overhead boom, located on the east side of Saddle Island, just north of Boulder Harbor.
NOTE: The suction in the tunnel is not dangerous at normal water levels (a maximum of 2.6 miles per hour, 585 cubic feet per second at the tunnel entrance), but with all 20 units operating, a possible suction hazard could be present at low lake levels. The top of the tunnel is at 1,050 feet above sea level, and the entrance is 12 feet in diameter with a vertical bar screen with six-inch spaces between bars. At average lake levels, the tunnel is about 110 feet below the surface.
Lake Mohave - the following areas are closed to diving:
1. Above and below Hoover and Davis Dams.
2. All designated boat harbors. Divers employed by concessioners diving on official business and special events approved by the National Park Service are exempt from this restriction.
Potentially Hazardous Areas
1. Iceberg Canyon and uplake: soft, viscous silt layers on bottom several feet thick. The further uplake you travel, the muddier the water becomes due to the silt content of the Colorado River. Also, the thermocline is usually found at a depth of 5-l0 feet with the water temperature dropping to the low 50 degrees.
2. Ski Beach and Personal Watercraft Beach near Hemenway Harbor: excessive boat traffic, especially from Easter to Thanksgiving.
3. Gypsum ledges, which have been eroded by wind and water, may have unstable overhangs.
Lake Mohave (up to 17 feet annual vertical fluctuation)
1. From Hoover Dam to Chalk Cliffs (22 miles): narrow channel and heavy boat traffic.
2. Ringbolt Rapids (8 miles north of Willow Beach): swift and turbulent water up to 16 miles per hour, depth to 70 feet. Recommended for ADVANCED DIVERS ONLY.
3. Katherine Landing area: heavy boat traffic.
2. Never dive alone. Use the "buddy" system.
3. Fly the standard red and white diving flag within 100 feet of diver while diving. A floating tow flag is essential in many areas due to heavy boat traffic.
4. Plan your dive; dive your plan.
5. Do not dive beyond the capability of the least experienced member of your group, and do not dive unless trained and certified.
6. Check with the local area rangers on the latest weather forecasts. (Weather Page) All launch ramps have weather boards.
7. The nearest recompression chamber is located at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Las Vegas, so it is imperative that the U.S. Navy dive tables and altitude conversions be followed. Lake Mead is a fluctuating reservoir. Check elevations before diving. Lake Mohave's elevation fluctuates between 630 feet and 647 feet above sea level.
8. It is essential the following information be given to the ranger and doctor when a diving emergency occurs:
General Diving Conditions
Visibility also varies with depth: the deeper one goes, the darker it gets. This is particularly pronounced in the summer months when the thermocline formed by warmer surface waters is present. During the summer months the first distinct thermocline usually occurs near the 30 foot to 40 foot depth. From surface level to 30 feet in depth, the temperature may range from 70° to 82° Fahrenheit, and this layer supports the majority of algae growth. The second distinct thermocline usually is found near the 60 foot depth. Between 30 feet and 60 feet the temperature ranges from 70° to 60° F with less algae present due to cooler water. Below 60' in depth, the water temperature is 60° to 52° F. At this depth, the water is usually clear but much darker in summer than in winter due to the dissipation of the light caused by the presence of algae in the warmer water above. During the winter, there is usually no thermocline with the entire water column is in the low 50 degrees.
There are several exceptions. Where rivers or streams flow into Lake Mead, visibility is poor year round due to high silt content or excessive algae growth. Examples are: Overton Arm where the Virgin and Muddy Rivers flow into Lake Mead; and Las Vegas Bay near the terminus of Las Vegas Wash. The reverse is true, however, from Hoover Dam to mid-way between Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon. The colder water released from Hoover Dam (52-55 degrees F) provides clear water and good visibility throughout the year.
Most of the currents in Lake Mead and Lake Mohave are slow and undetectable. From Hoover Dam to mid-way between Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon, however, the current ranges from 3 to 12 miles per hour. This current is variable depending on the volume of water released from Hoover Dam and the water level in Lake Mohave. At Ringbolt Rapids, the speed of the water may reach 16 miles per hour on week days.
Navigational and cove name maps are available at Lake Mead Visitor Center and all marinas.
There are dive shops in Boulder City, Henderson, and Las Vegas, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona, which supply equipment sales and rental, instruction, and air. Check the local telephone directory.
Preferred Dive Locations
Castle Cliffs-Gypsum Reef: good drop-offs, large gypsum and sandstone rocks, visibility variable. Access by boat.
Kingman Wash: gentle slope, good for novice divers, occasional heavy boat traffic, visibility variable. Access by boat.
Black Canyon: sheer wall diving, usually good visibility. Access by boat.
Dive Park (North Boulder Beach): just north of the designated swim beach, gentle slope to 70 foot depth, good training site, visibility seasonally fair to good. Access by vehicle or boat. Boat traffic restricted to dive support vessels. Also, five to ten vessels or other objects have been placed on the bottom for fun and training. Objects are marked with yellow buoys.
Saddle Island: west side of Saddle Island (Boulder Harbor side) moderate drop-off, excellent area for freshwater clams in 40-60 feet of water, visibility variable. Access by boat preferable.
Gypsum Reefs-Virgin Basin: extensive white gypsum reef area with irregular underwater erosion forms, visibility variable. Note: outstanding eroded formations may present unstable overhangs. Access by boat.
Cathedral Cove: about 5 miles south of Echo Bay, protected water, usually good visibility, interesting underwater formations. Access by boat.
Black Canyon: moderate to swift water, usually good visibility, water temperature 52-55 degrees F all year, steady boat traffic, excellent current drift diving conditions. Access by boat.
Ringbolt Rapids: advanced divers only, swift and turbulent water for about 100 yards, visibility usually only fair due to turbulence and bubbles, 50-70 foot depression at base of rapids. NOTE: Hand-held buddy line and surface support boat essential. Boulders and rock formations may pose a hazard along canyon walls. Access by boat. The high water flows and boulders along with other obstructions make Ringbolt Rapid a potentially hazardous dive along the Nevada side. AVOID THE NEVADA SIDE.
Work Barge: located 4¼ miles below Hoover Dam on the Arizona side. The 38 foot tow barge was used on the spillway tunnel repair project and sank in 1946. It is located in about 25-35 feet of water in moderate to swift current. The barge is protected under the Antiquities Act, therefore, nothing may be removed or damaged. Access by boat.
Cabinsite Point (North of Katherine Landing): vessels prohibited. Two boat wrecks. Access by vehicle.
Nevada and Arizona State fish and game regulations are in effect. A combination Nevada/Arizona fishing license is required. Spearfishing is legal for carp and striped bass ONLY. Spearfishing for striped bass is permitted throughout Lake Mead but only from the cable below Hoover Dam to Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave. Spearfishing is prohibited within 1/2 mile of any dock or swimming area.
Fish - the following species of fish may be found in the two lakes:
Largemouth Black Bass: During the spring and summer they can be observed guarding their egg nests or schools of fry. During this period their behavior is aggressive. (No spearfishing)
Other Aquatic Life
Crayfish: found in heavy bottom vegetation, rarely seen.
Live quagga mussels (a nuisance invasive species closely related to, and commonly referred to as zebra mussels) were discovered in Lake Mead on January 6, 2007 at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor marina. In order to not spread the mussel to Lake Mohave and other bodies of water, please follow the suggestions below. Effective ways boaters (including personal watercraft, canoe, and kayak users) and fisherman can ensure that their boats, vehicles, trailers and other equipment do not become the means of infecting other waters:
1. Drain the water from your motor, live well, and bilge on land before leaving the immediate area of the lake.
2. Completely inspect your vessel and trailer, removing any visible mussels, but also feel for any rough or gritty spots on the hull. These may be young mussels that can be hard to see.
3. Wash the hull, equipment, bilge and any other exposed surface with hot, soapy water or use a 5% solution of household bleach.
4. Clean and wash your trailer, truck or any other equipment that comes in contact with lake water. Mussels can live in small pockets anywhere water collects.
5. Air-dry the boat and other equipment for at least five days before launching in any other waterway. Do not reuse bait once it has been exposed to infested waters.
Did You Know?
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." -- Nelson Mandela