Boating safety tips, water conditions for Memorial Day weekend

Elephant Butte State Park
Elephant Butte State Park

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – For some of us, warm weather, Memorial Day weekend, and water activities go hand in hand.

Before you get the boat out of storage and head to the nearest lake, safety experts say there are some things you should know before hitting the water this weekend.

Local lake marinas are preparing for a big weekend as they get the docks ready by doing safety inspections. With electric shock drownings a concern, marina owners are taking even more precautions.

Neil Brown is in charge of three of the marinas on Elephant Butte Lake. He says he and his staff conduct safety inspections on the docks at the marinas twice a year. Once right before Memorial Day weekend and again later in the summer.

This involves checking the outlets and making sure there aren’t any power cords in the water, or under the dock.

Brown says the issue isn’t with docks. The biggest problem when it comes to electrical shock is faulty wiring done by boat owners.

“Just understanding that boat electric rules are different than house electric rules. Just because you know how to wire a house does not mean you know how to wire a boat,” said Brown.

Brown adds that there are signs posted on the gate at each marina warning people not to plug anything into the outlets unless given permission.

Another tip to remember, never swim in or near marinas, docks, or boatyards. That’s a rule at all New Mexico State Parks.

If you are in the water and feel electric current, shout to let others know, tuck your legs to make yourself smaller, move away from anything that could be energized, and stay away from metal ladders.

For those of you who are headed out to any of New Mexico’s beautiful lakes this weekend, park officials say water levels and conditions are looking good.

At Elephant Butte Lake, officials say they’re expecting 90,000 visitors over the course of the three day holiday weekend.

Park officials say all of those visitors can expect great water levels, with levels higher than in years past. Water will also be clear and clean making it perfect for fishing.

For a list of boating conditions, click here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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