Lake Mead Diving

 

Lake Mead is considered among the best lakes to dive in because of it's size, it's availability of wrecks, and it's numerous canyons, walls, and abundance of large fish.  The lake contains several boat wrecks, some of which are accessible to recreational divers, while others are only reached by technical diving.  Additionally, there are ruins left over from the construction of the Hoover Dam. These include the Clarifying Pond, more commonly known as the Batch Plant, as well as the Aggregate Piles. The Clarifying Pond is out of the water at this time due to the lower lake level, and the Aggregate Piles are now accessible to recreational divers. Two aircraft are also known to have crashed in the lake. The first is a B-29 bomber that crashed in July of 1948. It is located in the southermost portion of the Overton Arm of the lake. It is a protected site and is off limits to divers at this time except by permit. The second is a PBY that crashed in 1949. The PBY is located in the Boulder Basin portion of the lake but is only accesible to technical divers at the present level of the lake. The lake provides excellent wall dives in places such as Black Canyon and the Narrows.  There are numerous opportunites to see many fish including large mouth black bass, striped bass, cat fish, blue gill, and carp.

 

Summertime water temperatures in the lake are in the mid 80's requiring only a 3mm suit.  However, there is a thermalcline that can be felt usually beginning about 35 to 55 feet.  For deeper diving in the summer it is best to use a 5mm suit due to the thermalcline.  In the wintertime the temperature drops to the mid 50's necessitating the use of a 7mm wetsuit or a dry suit.  Visibility is poor in the summertime due to an algae bloom.  The visibilty is often 6 to 15 feet in the summer but increases slightly with depth.  In the winter the algae is moslty gone so the visibility increases to 30 feet or more.  We have even seen 70 foot visibilty in some areas of the lake in late September as the algae began to recede.

 

Although there are dirt access roads to several dive loactions around the lake, most of the best dive locations are only accessible by boat.  There are three marinas still active - Hemenway Harbor/Las Vegas Marina, Callville Marina, and Temple Bar Marina.  The marinas at Echo Bay, Overton, and Government Wash are closed due to the lowering lake levels.