New personal watercraft regulation begins Jan. 1 at Lake Mead NRA

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Date: December 11, 2012

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior


For Immediate Release: Dec. 11, 2012
Release No.: 2012-70Contact: Christie Vanover, (702) 293-8691  


BOULDER CITY, Nev. - In an effort to safeguard the waters within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, some personal watercrafts will be banned from operating on Lake Mead and Lake Mohave Jan. 1.

Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 7.48 (f)(3) states that after Dec. 31, 2012, no one may operate a personal watercraft within the park unless it meets the 2006 emission standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency for the manufacturing of two-stroke engines.

Personal watercrafts that meet the standards through the use of direct-injection two-stroke or four-stroke engines and boats are not subject to this prohibition and are still allowed on the lakes.

"Lake Mead supplies drinking water for millions of people in Las Vegas, and carbureted two-stroke engines have been shown to discharge as much as 30 percent of their fuel directly into lake waters," said Bill Dickinson, park superintendent. "This pollution has the potential to harm water quality, people's health and aquatic organisms."

The new regulation was established in 2003, but Dickinson said the National Park Service and Lake Mead National Recreation Area delayed implementation of the regulation for 10 years to minimize impacts to personal watercraft owners and to provide time for people to plan for this new requirement.

"As one of a handful of parks within the National Park Service that authorizes the use of personal watercrafts, Lake Mead National Recreation Area continuously balances the preservation of America's natural resources with its wide range of recreational opportunities," said Dickinson.

All personal watercrafts will continue to be granted entrance into the park; however, beginning Jan. 1, park rangers will use a variety of enforcement strategies to ensure the regulation is being followed on the water, including education, warnings and citations.

Personal watercraft manufacturers are cooperating with the park service to provide a list of compliant models for the public. This list will be made available online and at the visitors center, entrance stations and marinas.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is available online at

PWC owners with additional questions may call the visitors center at 702-293-8990. Questions can also be posted on Lake Mead's PWC Regulation tab on Facebook at


Last updated: February 28, 2015

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