Havasu Rules of the Lake

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to our city each year to play on our lake. Boating has become synonymous with the Lake Havasu lifestyle. Unfortunately, some people don’t heed boat safety tips or are unaware of some of our local laws when out on the water. Before your next outing, read some of these Havasu rules of the lake to avoid potential problems.

Before you head out to the water this weekend, read over these Havasu rules of the lake to refresh your memory of the laws and review boat safety tips.

Havasu Rules of the Lake

Arizona Boating Laws

Police officers patrol the water often, especially during high traffic times. Alcohol impairs your ability to operate a boat just as much as it does when operating a car. So, don’t drink while out on the water if you are in charge of steering the boat. No one should be on the bow while underway. You must be at least 12 years old to operate a motorized watercraft in Arizona. But, if you go to the California side of the lake, you must be at least 16 years old. Heed “no wake” zones. All motorized watercraft must yield to any non-motorized watercraft (canoes, kayaks, etc.). All boaters must keep to the right (like cars do on land). That means you travel in a counter-clockwise motion around the lake. Any boat that tows someone behind them (waterskiing, tubing, etc.) must have at least two people on board the vessel at all times. Kids under 12 must always wear a life jacket/vest while on the water. The same goes for anyone being towed behind a watercraft. Towing starts after sunrise and stops after sunset. If you are involved in an accident with another watercraft, stop, exchange contact information, and provide aid if necessary.

Required Equipment for Watercraft

Arizona law requires the following safety equipment installed on most watercraft when out on the lake:

  • Life jackets or vests (one per person onboard in their appropriate size)
  • Throwable flotation device
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flame arrestor (for all motorized vehicles except ones using an outboard motor)
  • Blower (except open boats)
  • Navigation lights
  • Muffler
  • Horn
  • Flares, flags, and other devices for use to signal when in distress

Safety Tips

Always, always pay attention to what’s going on all around you at all times. Smaller vessels should yield to larger ones. You’re harder to see. So, for your safety, stay out of a larger vessel’s way. If you see watercraft towing someone or something, give it a wide berth to avoid collision with people in the water. When the motor is running, stay away from the back of the boat. The emissions coming from the motor can be very toxic. Also, stay away from the prop. Sit only in the designated seating areas on a watercraft. Anywhere else could cause injury to you or damage to the boat itself. If you see someone in distress in the water, make sure you can physically help them before diving in. Panicked swimmers tend to “climb up” someone helping them. In turn, this could cause both of you to drown. If you’re unsure whether you can physically help them get to safety, throw them a personal flotation device and bring them to your boat that way. Finally, don’t litter. You will be subject to fines. Plus, it’s really gross.

It’s not required, but, if you’re interested, you might want to try taking a boat safety course from the Arizona Game & Fish Department. They’re available online. Heed these Havasu rules of the lake to ensure you and your guests stay safe while they play. Remember to follow social distancing guidelines. It’s best to go boating with people you currently live with in order to limit your potential exposure to COVID-19.