When Accidents Happen on Lake Mead

Lake Mead, located about 24 miles from Las Vegas, is one of the most popular lakes in the country, receiving between 8 million and 10 million visitors annually. Unfortunately, it also has one of the highest incidents of boating accidents, ranking fifth in the nation in 2013. Although many boating accidents that occur on Lake Mead result in minor or temporary injuries, others cause long term or even permanent damages that require victims to go through extensive medical treatment and make significant life changes. Sadly, some victims even lose their lives.

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infographic_Boat Accidents on Lake Mead


Why So Many Boating Accidents on Lake Mead?

In 2015, there were about 4,150 boating accidents throughout the United States. About 2,316 resulted in serious injuries, and an additional 620 were fatal. With a large portion of these incidents occurring on Lake Mead, a closer look at two of the most common causes of area boating accidents is in order.

Alcohol Consumption

Consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of fatal boating incidents in the U.S., and alcohol was involved in a whopping 20 percent of boating accidents that resulted in fatality in 2015. Due to the massive size of Lake Mead, it can be difficult for law enforcement to monitor all boat operators for alcohol use. The lake covers an area of about 247 square miles and is the largest reservoir in the nation.

Lack of Experience

Watercraft rental are popular with visitors of Lake Mead. Unfortunately, many operators who rent boats on the lake are not experienced with the safe operation of watercraft. About 85 percent of fatal boating accidents involve an operator who is not certified from a nationally approved boating safety program. To help combat this issue, Nevada requires all operators under the age of 21 to obtain a boating education certificate.

When Boating Accidents Happen

In most cases, boating accidents that occur on Lake Mead are caused by some form of negligence. Although the National Park Service has developed a collection of safety tips for Lake Mead visitors to follow, many individuals continue to act recklessly and negligently. This type of behavior can come at quite a cost for victims. If a victim becomes injured due to the recklessness or negligence of another while visiting Lake Mead, he or she may be entitled to receive compensation for the damages suffered.