Your Safety is our Highest Priority
Visitors, employees and park partners deserve to be safe when visiting a national park. Our staff works hard to make your visit both safe and enjoyable. Knowing how to stay safe will help you and your loved ones to enjoy your visit to the fullest.
Water SafetyPool Toys Prohibited
Pool toys (inlfatable and non-inflatable) are prohibited at Lakes Mead and Mohave. Pool toys are not a substitute for life jackets and are dangerous in open water conditions, contributing significantly to drownings and rescues. Visitors can be fined for having pool toys.
Life jackets save lives. Because lake conditions can change in an instant, rangers recommend always wearing a life jacket, even while swimming. If you are short a life jacket, we have a free loaner program.
Scuba divers must fly a diver's flag. We have a page devoted to Scuba information here.
There are no lifeguards or designated swim beaches. Children swimming on the shorelines or in the open water should wear life jackets. Swim at Your Own Risk. Here are some popular areas where visitors like to swim.
Swimmer's itch is a result of a parsite found in warm, shallow waters. It's life cycle is propegated by water-based birds. Do NOT feed birds! The parisite is not harmful but can cause severe itching. To help prevent swimmer's itch immediately dry of with a towel when exiting the water. Learn more about Swimmer's Itch. To report Swimmer's Itch, call 702-293-8998.
Harmful Algal Blooms
Certain blue-green algae produce toxins that may be harmful to people and pets. At least one-third of the lakes in the United States that are larger than 10 acres have these toxin producing algae, and this trend is increasing worldwide. Blue-green algae occur on both Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, typically in the late summer and early fall months. Do not touch or allow pets to contact algae that appear as distinct, bright green or yellow streaks or scum on the surface of the water or as green globs or streaks floating below the surface. To report algal blooms or illness, call 702-293-8998. To report a medical emergency, call 702-293-8932.
•Do not swim, dive or contact water in areas with algae.
•Do not drink untreated lake water.
•Keep pets and children out of areas with algae.
•Clean fish well, and discard guts.
•Rinse off with clean water after swimming.
•Get updates and read more about Lake Mead’s Algal blooms here.
General SafetyFireworks and Campfires
No fireworks are allowed within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, not even sparklers. Wood and charcoal fires are allowed in grills and fire pits at developed picnic areas or campgrounds and at shorelines 100 feet from vegetation.
The consumption or direct possession of an alcoholic beverage by a person operating a vehicle or vessel is prohibited. Glass bottles and Styrofoam are prohibited in the park.
Alcohol is also prohibited in the following locations:
Weather, Forecasts and Lake Levels are found on Lake Mead’s Weather Page
Bike paths have STOP signs at road intersections. Please stop and look both directions before proceeding. Always observe the rules of the road while riding your bike. Please wear your bike helmet and respect the rights of others while using the roads and pathways.
Lightning and Flash Floods
Desert thunderstorms carry the double threat of flash floods and lightning. They occur most often during the monsoons in summer. Be wary of nearby storms. Violent downpours can cause flash flooding in distant areas untouched by rain. Avoid hiking and camping in a wash or other low-lying area or drive across a flooded road. Stay out of open areas where lightning may strike. Check the weather before you visit the park.
Mines and Tunnels
Abandoned mines and tunnels, with their deep shafts and old, rotten supporting timbers, are usually considered unsafe and should not be entered. Signs are posted to warn visitors to keep out.
Boating SafetyBefore going out on the water, check weather forecasts and look for storm warning flags at marinas. If a storm breaks while you are out, seek shelter in a protected cove immediately and wait until the storm passes. Lightning is also a hazard on open water.
- Water levels in lakes Mead and Mohave change throughout the year. Always approach the shore with caution and watch for shallows and submerged debris.
- Many persons who drown never intended to enter the water. Always wear a life jacket. All boaters must have required safety equipment on board their boat.
- Distances to islands, buoys, and across coves are easily underestimated. Don't overestimate your abilities. Air mattresses and other inflatables can blow away, leaving you stranded far from shore. Never rely on an inflatable device as a life jacket. Always wear a life jacket when swimming, fishing or playing in the lake.
Maintain a distance of at least 300 feet (90m) from diver down flags and buoys in open water and at least 100 feet (30m) in inlets or navigation channels.
Safety for Water-skiers, Wakeboarding, and Toobing
All personnel towed behind a watercraft must wear life a jacket and an observer must accompany the boat operator. Display a ski flag when a skier is in the water. State laws apply.
Due to safety concerns, off-limit areas on Lake Mead are the Narrows through Boulder Canyon and Black Canyon from Promontory Point to Hoover Dam and the Chalk Cliffs north of the Hoover Dam. Lake Mohave off-limit areas are the narrow passes around Katherine Landing. Other areas specifically prohibited are within 300 feet of SCUBA divers, and other high-use shoreline areas marked by buoys or other markers.
Drink Plenty of Water
Last updated: August 1, 2023