The Salton Sea--over 35 miles in length, over 12 miles wide and approximately
228 feet below sea level--presents the boater with wind and water conditions
not likely to be encountered in other areas. Awareness of these conditions
will contribute to your pleasure and safety when boating on the lake.
Occasional dense sandstorms, which can reduce visibility to zero, are an additional hazard. No boating activity should be attempted during these storms.
The sea is located in an area where the high summer temperatures require protection against sunburn and sunstroke. On the average, the temperature will exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit more than 110 days out of the year. Wearing a hat or other head covering is advisable. Drinking water should be carried on board.
Capsizing or Swamping
In cases of capsizing or swamping, boaters who stay with their boats are much easier to find. In addition, much of the sea has a soft mud bottom, which makes wading ashore very dangerous.
Boaters have had accidents here while swimming, when sudden gusts of wind have drifted their boats beyond reach. A securely anchored boat or one with a competent operator remaining aboard will make swimming safer.
The land around the sea is flat and many obstructions such as fenceposts and concrete abutments lie close to shore. Those obstructions which can be seen during periods of calm may be covered by water during a storm, creating additional hazards for the boater attempting to maneuver along the shoreline.
Even when calm, the Salton Sea waters may conceal a variety of underwater hazards, such as trees or rocks. In some areas, submerged rock jetties extend several hundred yards into the water.
When You Need Assistance
There are several ways to obtain assistance. The quickest remedy may be seeking the aid of a passing boat. Flares, smoke, blinking lights, or waving arms are common methods of signaling an emergency.
For emergency communication, some marinas have citizen band radios and monitor either Channel 19 or 11. The California Department of Parks and Recreation--Salton Sea Recreation Area, and the local county sheriffs in the area can provide emergency assistance. These agencies can be reached by calling 9-1-1.
Seven-Point Safety Checklist
Alcohol is a contributing factor to many boating accidents, injuries,
and fatalities. Studies indicate that the hazardous side effects of alcohol
are more pronounced when operating a boat. Alcohol, combined with wind,
boat noise, vibration, wave action, and sun-glare, has a tremendous adverse
influence on your judgment and response time in boating. Do not drink and
operate a boat.
The material in this leaflet does not cover all hazardous conditions which maybe encountered on the sea. Circumstances may arise requiring the use of additional equipment and the exercise of independent sound judgment to assure safety of the operator and others on board.