Closed boat ramp, storm slam Lake Mead businesses

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (FOX5) – Historically, Labor Day is the last busy boating weekend of summer, with some braving the heat to head to Lake Mead.

On Friday, the boats launched with ease, without having to wait for more than a truck or two.

Regulars say the summer is quieter than expected.

“There were hours of line backup last year,” said a local rower named Adam. “I haven’t seen more than six people in line this year.”

“I think a lot of people are afraid to come here right now because of the negative impact on the water levels and the lake,” said rower Scott Dunn.

However, water sports businesses that rent jet skis, like the all-important Las Vegas, said only one launch disaster caused their worst summer ever.

“We stared at them more this year than we sent them out,” said Kim Kelch, owner of All Above Las Vegas ATV tours and Watercraft Rentals. “One of five of them hasn’t even seen the lake this year. That’s how my business is affected.”

Kelch decided this summer to only go for multi-day rentals. The goal is to avoid people coming back unhappy after wasting most of their time waiting for a release.

“It’s the only thing that makes me feel like it’s worth the effort and money that people put in,” Kelch said. “There’s no guarantee we’ll get more water in the lake, so we don’t even know what the next year will be for us.”

Boaters departing from Harbour View Harbour on Friday found the changes positive.

“There’s a lot of new beautiful beaches,” says boater Craig Travers. “It’s not that low water is good, but one of the things that low water creates is all these beautiful beaches out there.”

Pay extra attention to your surroundings, as lower levels mean more hazards that could get in your way, park officials said. This could include a rock hitting your propeller.

Officials said wait times could reach four hours on holiday weekends such as Labor Day. Willow Beach may reach capacity by 9 a.m. on weekends.

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