Boat launch wait times at Lake Mead are shorter than expected over Memorial Day weekend

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — Memorial Day weekend for many means taking the boat out on Lake Mead, but this year the options were much more limited. Hemenway Harbour, as it has been for several weeks, was the only boat launch open on the lake due to falling water levels.

“We read a bunch and thought it was going to be a three or four hour wait,” said Max Conde, visiting from Salt Lake City. “We were surprised, because there were only three or four boats ahead of us.”

“We were there inside and out, and we didn’t wait more than 20 minutes,” said Jennifer McKay, visiting from St. George.

However, that didn’t mean the lower water levels didn’t present other challenges for boaters.

“It’s so low even with four-wheel drive that you’re like underwater,” Henderson resident Cindy Fuller said of launching her boat.

The current launch pad at Hemenway Harbor appears to be made of steel tubing, and no boat over 24 feet is supposed to use both lanes. Some boaters said they saw some cut it up close.

“By throwing overweight stuff, you’re going to ruin the ramp. The ramp is skating on twigs and toothpicks,” Fuller said with a laugh.

McKay said his group drifted slightly away from the dock and hit the boat’s propeller on the rocks at the bottom, when launching over the weekend.

Boaters said the lower levels mean you need to keep your eyes peeled for the water.

“You have to be careful of the sandbanks. You need to be more alert,” Conde said.

Monday brought the best sailing weather of the weekend as there was less wind. It seemed like many of those who chose not to get out on the water went to the beach instead.

Willow Beach at Lake Mohave has reached capacity for several hours, according to Lake Mead’s social media. It reopened later in the afternoon.

There’s no timeline on when, or if, other boat launches might reopen this boating season.

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