Question of the Day March 27, 2015
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Q:Where is the best place to rent a boat on Lake Mead?
A:We asked the visitors center at Lake Mead National Recreation Center. The staff there mentioned four marinas from which you can choose. First was Boulder Beach Hemenway Marina, just downhill from the visitors center and open around the clock. (Park admission is $10 per vehicle.) The marina proper was moved from Boulder Beach to the Hemenway Launch Ramp area to keep pace with receding water levels on Lake Mead. It’s primarily a BYOB (bring your own boat) marina. Bayliner ski boats, Sweetwater pontoon boats, and Yamaha Waverunners are available for rental. Call 702-2930-3484 to hire one.
Newest to the lake is Callville Bay Marina, which opened in 2010. Initially, it required a temporary launch ramp but a generous snow melt in 2011 enabled the permanent ramp to be brought into operation. Eight miles further up the lake than Boulder Beach, its amenities include a restaurant and general store. Powerboats, personal watercraft, jet skis, and fishing boats are all available for rental, whether by the hour or the day. You can even rent house boats and they come in six different models. Callville Bay seems to be the most complete destination for the would-be boater.
Temple Bar Marina, deep on the eastern loch of Lake Mead, is popular with Arizona residents and is strongly recommended by RiverLakes.com both for its flora and fauna, and for its lack of admission fees. Boats available for rental run from a kayak ($10 an hour) to an open-bow ski boat ($375 a day). Deposits, ski packs (if required), wakeboard rentals and watercraft deposits can make this a very pricey excursion onto the waves. The marina has a motel and as well as a floating dry dock for refueling your boat. Food service is described as "adequate."
Echo Bay Marina, northernmost of the group, closed briefly in 2013 when the National Park Service could not find an operator. Rod Taylor, regional vice president for ironically named Forever Resorts, complained "People have taken their boats home and parked them in their garages or parked them in their yards." Echo Bay subsequently relented and now operates it under the name Lake Mead RV Village. There appears to be no provision for renting boats here, so we’re reasonably sure you’ll want to try Callville Bay or Temple Bar instead.