WHAT WE DO:  The Lake Havasu Marine Association

The Lake Havasu City Marine Association is dedicated to our greatest asset: Lake Havasu and the marine environment surrounding it. We are the community leader in lake issues and serving boaters including periodic clean up efforts. We are a leader in assisting other agencies on the governing of the lake, in disseminating information relating to the Quagga Mussel and any water safety issues. Our “Sticker A Mussel” Program has received five Federal Grants and the Program has provided one on one education to over 33,000 boaters over a five-year period.

We have an agreement with the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe to partner up on cleaning the California beaches. They simply don’t have the resources to pick up and haul away the mountains of trash that accumulate during the busy season. The Marine Association has the boats and the manpower to do that. We now have a program in place and we clean the Lake regularly. In addition, we did take over the leadership of “Keep Havasu Beautiful” as it relates to the Lake from long time founder Dean Barlow.! We have installed 24 bag posts for the Tribe and we have installed additional posts at Crazy Horse, Islander, and the Nautical on the Island. And we have installed a post at Site 6 for the City, as well as two posts at the London Bridge Resort. Trash posts are also at Black Meadow, Havasu Springs, Lake Havasu Staev Park (Windsor ) at Cat Tail and inside Campbell Cove One Stop and West Marine. There are now a total of 72 trash bag posts on or around the lake. Over 150,000 bags were dispensed annualy from June 2010 through June 2017 and currently, we have dispensed over 1.22 million trash bags..

We have Coast Guard permits and have installed over 42 safety buys on the California side of the  Lake. Previously, there were none on the California side or across the mouth of the river. These buoys will mark under water obstacles that can damage your props and out drives.


Maybe this explanation regarding California’s new Boater Card as it pertains to Arizona boaters will be helpful.  This information comes directly from Arizona’s top Boating Law Administrator, Maj. Tim Baumgarten.

Let’s start with the issue of joint jurisdictional waters:  law enforcement officers from either state (AZ or CA) have the authority to enforce laws shoreline to shoreline only when the committed act is a violation in both adjoining states.  When laws differ between the states (CA boater education) then the law of the enforcing state can only be enforced to generally, the center of the river or Lake Havasu.  This is also true of the age of operation—16 in CA and 12 in AZ.  The bottom line is that one state’s laws cannot be enforced in another state’s jurisdictional waters when it is not a violation in that adjoining state.  So, California officers cannot enforce California law on the Arizona half of the river, regardless of registration or residency—that being said, the middle of the lake will have a lot of latitude.  Now let’s look at the elements of the CA boater education card:

  • It only applies to residents of California regardless of where your watercraft is registered.
  • According to the San Bernardino County Sheriffs, if your boat has Arizona registration numbers, but you have a California driver’s license, then you must have a California Boater Card regardless of where you are boating on the Colorado River.
  • There is a 60 day reciprocity period for nonresidents to operate in CA waters without a card, so if a nonresident watercraft was moored in California waters, the 60 day period would not begin until it was used or operated.
  • Reality check here:  to prosecute a nonresident that exceeded the 60 day reciprocity period, an officer would have to document that the person operated in California waters for 60  consecutive days—this task would be almost impossible.
  • When the law becomes effective in January of 2018, it only applies to those persons 20 YOA and younger, so there will be a learning curve for all of us.
  • Officers must stop you for some other reason before they would be able to ask you for a boater education card.  If you believe you may be required to have  boater card, taking the course is always recommended and usually takes only 3 hours to complete.
  • Arizona’s online boater education course DOES NOT meet the requirements of California’s boater education card requirement because their course covers laws specific to California.


Major, Tim Baumgarten, Arizona’s State Boating Law Aministrator is available at 623-236-7383 to answer boating law/rule related questions during normal office hours.  This is the source to rely on when you need correct and reliable boating law information.

Here’s an answer to a recent boater question regarding why Arizona boating registrations are done on an annual basis.

Arizona did have a 3 year registration period a few years ago which is the maximum allowed by USCG regulation.  This required triple the decal inventory required to be on hand at each regional office.  The time the decal inventory sat on the shelves caused the glue of the decals to break down and the decals were falling off the boats when they got wet.  The decal vendor said they could not guarantee the adhesion of the decals past one year, so to avoid waste and higher cost for decals we went to one year.  There was another probably more important financial consideration.  When we collected fees for three years the funds accumulated in one year and were swept to balance the budget by State Legislators believing the funds were in excess.  Not understanding the funds were collected in one year for future budgeting needs in the next two, the Department was left with significant short falls when the monies were swept.  To avoid the accumulation of funds that left them vulnerable to be swept for other purposes, the Department decided to only collect funds for one year.  The sweeping of funds has always and will continue to be of concern when the Legislature looks for ways to balance the state budgets.


Designated Captain is a logical and much-needed next step in our effort to minimize the number of intoxicated boat operators on the water, especially on busy holiday weekends.

The Lake Havasu Marine Association has compiled a list of local certified Coast Guard captains (see below) who are licensed to provide for-hire boat driving services to the general public, using their own boat or a rental.

“It has become apparent, thanks to our Designated Operator awareness campaign, that an increasing number of boaters understand the seriousness involved while operating a boat under the influence of excessive alcohol or drugs,” says Jim Salscheider, President & CEO of the Lake Havasu Marine Association. “If boaters want to avoid that possibility entirely they now have a means to do so by hiring a sober Coast Guard captain to do the driving for them.”


The Lake Havasu Marine Association highly recommends that every boater enroll in a safe boating class.  If you would like to find out more information about safety classes in your area, please copy and paste the following link into your browser:

Arizona Game and Fish Response June 2016 to original Draft Compatibility Determination regarding New Boating Restrictions in the Havasu Refuge Click Here To Read Letter

 The Designated Captain Program Coordinator is U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Dale Bowers.  Please contact him for more information at 928-486-5782.