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 will be a leader in an effort to build a new Marina, to assist other agencies in the governing of the lake, in disseminating information relating to the Quagga Mussel and any water safety issues.

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 every third Wednesday. In addition, we did take over the leadership of “Keep Havasu Beautiful” as it relates to the Lake from long time founder Dean Barlow. The London Bridge Yacht Club will assist us and be responsible for the Island. What better way to give back to the community than keeping our Lake clean! We have installed 19 bag posts for the Tribe and working with London Bridge Yacht Club, we have installed posts at Crazy Horse, Islander, The Marina, the Nautical and the Beachcomber on the Island. And we have installed a post at Site 6 for the City. Trash posts are also at Black Meadow, Havasu Springs, Cat Tail and inside Campbell One Stop and West Marine. There are now a total of 71 trash bag posts on or around the lake. Over 150,000 bags were dispensed from June 2010 through June 2011.

We have 10 volunteers who are, or were members of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Water Safety Boating Patrol. We are on patrol for the Sheriff now. But budget woes have have reduced the number of patrols. This program would allow for a greater safety presence on the water. We also worked with the Chemehuevi’s on installing low water safety buoys on the lake. Previously, there were none on the California side or across the mouth of the river. These 18 buoys, now installed, 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, (like Havasu Springs Marina) 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


Lake Havasu Boaters Facing Possible New No Wake Restrictions within Havasu Refuge-April 2016

The never ending debate between recreational power boating access/use and environmental protection has once again surfaced in the Lake Havasu Wildlife Refuge, the 18-mile stretch of Colorado River located just north of the I-40 bridge extending south through scenic Topock Gorge where the river meets Lake Havasu.  And to complicate matters, the Refuge is administrated by multiple governmental agencies; the Bureau of Reclamation, Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The newest struggle over access/use and environmental protection appeared about a year ago when USFW created a new no-wake zone in a backwater area of the Refuge which had been long used by wakeboarders and water skiers seeking smooth water.  Acting on the complaints of a small number of non-motorized watercraft users that wakeboarding and skiing created a safety hazard and was harming the wildlife habitat in that area, USFW installed buoys making it a restricted no-wake zone.

Naturally, the boarders and skiers strongly objected and were successful in getting the support of Congressman Paul Gosar (R) Mohave County to engage USFW in heated communication regarding the closure.  Gosar, a staunch advocate and watchdog about governmental over-reach, objected to the lack of process (no public input or notification) used by USFW in imposing these new restrictions on boating.

Now, fast forward to today.  On April 12, 2016, USFW unveiled a Compatibility Determination (CD) to make additional no wake zones within the Refuge boundaries.  It also indicated that public meetings about the CD would be held at the Lake Havasu Aquatic Center on Monday, May 2 from 6 to 8pm, and Tuesday, May 3 at the Avi Resort and Casino from 1pm to 3pm and again at 6pm to 8pm.  In addition, concerned citizens would also have an opportunity to make comments by email or mail on the matter until June 13, 2016 (this is an extended deadline, originally set to expire on May 12).

All of this is troubling to power boaters who frequently travel the main channel of the Refuge, making lunch and dinner runs to popular destinations like Topock 66 and Pirate’s Cove Resort from the main body of Lake Havasu.  According to the CD, the newly proposed no wake zones are primarily located in two areas, the first is Topock Marsh backwaters where power boats seldom go and the marsh-like area at the southern-most tip of the Refuge boundary where river and lake converge. The impetus for the southern boundary restriction is a reaction from a request by the Anglers United organization concerned about preserving seasonal fish spawning. It appears on the USFW provided chart that no wake would be restricted from the eastern shore (Arizona side) out to the middle (imaginary dividing line) of the lake on the California and Arizona boundary. This area has been largely unrestricted until now, and boaters routinely travel at moderate to fast on-plane speeds (above 35 mph) in order to avoid running aground in shallow water. If implemented, there is concern that this new no wake zone would have a detrimental economic effect on up river restaurants, bars and resorts north of the I-40 bridge and potentially create a safety hazard for power boaters confined to the western (California) side of the popular river passage.

Big picture, restricting boating access and use are not something boaters should relinquish casually.  Much of the draft Compatibility Determination proposed by USFW contains highly suspect and badly outdated supporting documentation and bias studies justifying this planned action. It is also troubling that USFW has decided that it does not need to follow the mandated guidelines of the National Environmental Protection Act as required by federal law. In the wake of this on-going controversy, both Arizona Game and Fish and Bureau of Land Management have sent strongly worded letters of condemnation to USFW expressing their dissatisfaction in how that agency has independently acted on this matter in spite of an existing MOU between multiple governmental agencies.

Over-zealous conservation activists, don’t consider recreational boating as a fundamental right.  And it appears certain staff of the USFW shares that sentiment given a statement contained within its own CD – “Based on the analysis within this Compatibility Determination, the Refuge proposes to limit boating to activities that support the priority public uses – hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education and interpretation.”  Conspicuous by its absence is any mention or reference of general recreational boating as a priority public use.

Concerned boaters are urged to send their comments to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Attn: Draft Recreational Boating CD
317 Mesquite Avenue
Needles, CA 92363

Comments may also be emailed to:
More information will undoubtedly be forthcoming following the public meetings at the Aquatic Center on Monday, May 2 and AVI on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.  If possible, please attend and be involved in the process.


We are your link to anything to do with the Lake. Join us as a  powerful voice in our community.


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