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PLAYING IT SAFE ON LAKE PLEASANT

Boaters enjoy a warm September day on Lake Pleasant. Photo by Kirsten Roth

As Arizonans flood to the great outdoors this fall, a little caution will go a long way toward keeping lake outings pleasant. Higher visitor traffic and its associated hazards lead to higher risk for lake-goers. One of the most dangerous is Lake Pleasant, a popular recreation area just west of Phoenix.

       According to Valerie Ergish of the Lake Pleasant Regional Park, almost 600,000 people visit the lake every year. In 2002, 75,000 watercraft used its boat ramps, docks and water resources.

       Unlike several other Arizona lakes, an unlimited number of watercraft can use Lake Pleasant at the same time. The smaller and narrower Saguaro Lake in the East Valley restricts the number of boats on the lake to prevent accidents. By late morning on a busy weekend, many boats wait in the Saguaro Lake overflow area.

       Windy and choppy lake conditions, summer heat and alcohol add to the risk, resulting in numerous water-related accidents and an average of 10 deaths every year.

       According to Detective Ken Lignoski of the Maricopa County Lake Patrol, accidental drowning and boating accidents account for an average of 10 deaths each year on Lake Pleasant. “At least 50 percent of the accidents that occur at Lake Pleasant have alcohol as a contributing factor,” Lignoski said.

       The Maricopa County Lake Patrol employs detectives, divers and medical staff. Police officers with jet skis, boats, ATVs and four-wheel-drive vehicles patrol the lake to minimize hazards and respond to accidents.

       Of course, the best prevention for water-related accidents is playing it safe. With a little caution and a few safety tips in mind, Arizonans can enjoy the scenic views and rainbow of colors surrounding Lake Pleasant.


 


SAFE ON THE LAKE

Arizona law requires that all jet ski riders wear a lifejacket.

Children under 12 are not permitted on the water without a lifejacket.

Use the buddy system. Let someone know where you are at all times.

Never operate a watercraft under the influence of alcohol.

Follow the rules and guidelines of the lake.


QUICK FACTS

Day use fees
$5 per vehicle
$2 per watercraft
$5 per motorcycle
$1 per person to visit the Overlook Visitor Center

Camping
$5 for tent
$10 for semi-developed campsite
$18 for developed campsite

Rentals
(8 a.m.-4 p.m.)
$165 Rhino Rider
$100 16-foot fishing boat
$275 24-foot pontoon
$275 17-foot sport boat
$30 kneeboards,tubes
$20 wetsuits

Other activities
Fishing
Hiking
Horseback riding
Picnicking

Source: Lake Pleasant Regional Park

 

       
       
The Cronkite-Zine showcases the work of individual students at
ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication.