News Release

Pool Toys are Prohibited at Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Park ranger with pool float with SUV and lake in background.

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News Release Date: September 2, 2021

Contact: Justin Pattison, (702) 293-8669

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Lake Mead National Recreation Area is encouraging people to recreate responsibly this Labor Day Weekend by leaving their pool toys at home. In the interest of visitor safety, Lake Mead National Recreation Area prohibits the use of inflatable and non-inflatable devices used for recreating in pools and commonly referred to as “pool toys.” This prohibition includes small pool toys such as inflatable armbands (also known as water wings), beach balls and pool noodles. The use of water-based recreation items used for attaching to or towing behind a vessel are not included in this prohibition. Additionally, inflatable kayaks, paddle boards, kite boards and float tubes which fall under the United States Coast Guard definition of a vessel are not included in this prohibition. While recreating on these vessels and on water-based recreation items attached to or towed behind a vessel, visitors are required to wear a USCG approved personal floatation devices, also known as life vest or jackets.

Inflatable pool toys are not United States Coast Guard (USCG) approved flotation devices, can give visitors a false sense of security, and often have explicit warnings that they are not intended for use in lakes or open bodies of water. Use of pool toys have led to numerous drownings and “near-misses” on both Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Visitors with pool toys often do not wear life jackets, believing that their inflatable toy will keep them safe. Over the past seven years there have been nine drowning fatalities directly attributed to adults and children attempting to use pool toys as floatation devices or attempting to swim after pool toys that were taken by the wind into deeper, choppy water.

“Due to the numerous drownings and rescue operations required, inflatable pool toys are now prohibited at Lake Mead National Recreation Area,” said Acting Superintendent Randy LaVasseur. “Leave them in the pool where they belong. The weather conditions at Lake Mead can change quickly, putting visitors lives in danger. The safety and health of National Park Service employees, visitors, partners, volunteers, and resources is our top priority.”

The USCG approved personal floatation devices are designed to preserve lives and are approved for use at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead National Recreation Area joins among others, the City of Chicago, Mendon, MA, and Clare Beaches, Ireland in prohibiting the use of inflatable toys in their open waters.

For more information on swimming at Lake Mead National Recreation Area please visit: Swimming - Lake Mead National Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service) (
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Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the only national park minutes from Las Vegas that offers Joshua trees, slot canyons and night skies illuminated by the Milky Way. The park’s rocks are as red as fire and the mountains are purple majesties. Lake Mead is the country’s first and largest national recreation area and the fifth most visited national park in the country. Follow us at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Last updated: September 2, 2021

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