NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Friday, July 31, 2020

NOS Outside Guide: Stay Safe When You Are Fast and Loud

Did you know that boaters born after 1983 who have an engine greater than 15 horsepower must have a “Boaters Card”, earned by taking a 3-hour online course?   The Nevada Department of Wildlife teamed up with Boat-Ed to offer this course which teaches motorized boaters how to safely utilize local reservoirs, lakes, and rivers.  The course is not limited to motorized boaters, so even if you are a non-motorized low and slow boater, it may be wise to take the course too. Being informed can play an important role in the safety of all!  Visit the Nevada Department of Wildlife website at to learn more. 

Motor boats are super fun, but there are important safety considerations so that a day on the water doesn’t end poorly.  First and foremost, always wear your life jacket.  With today’s modern designs, life jackets do not have to be bulky and cumbersome; find one that fits you comfortably and you can wear all the time.  A life jacket in the boat does you no good when you are in the water. 

Next, be aware of the weight limits of your boat.  Do not overload.  The combined weight of motors, fuel, people, and gear all add up, so plan accordingly and be wise.  More people may mean less gear, or vice versa, balance appropriately and pay attention to what your boat can safely carry. 

With regard to fuel, the fuel rule of one-thirds is a good one to remember.  Use one-third of your fuel to get to where you are going, use one-third for your return trip, and keep one-third in reserve in the event of an emergency.  When refueling on the water is necessary, be safe.  Remove all passengers, be highly aware of possible ignition sources, like cigarettes, and be sure to smell for fumes before re-starting your engine.  Having a fire extinguisher nearby is also a good idea in the event of an unexpected fire.  Also, be proactive and work to not get fuel in the water. 

When the waters are busy with boaters and other water enthusiasts, be sure to be considerate of others and slow down.  Follow the navigation rules of the water, recognizing that all boaters may not know the rules, so be prepared to quickly change your plan to avoid any collision.  Being safe is not always about being right.

For more quick tips on responsible motor boating, visit:

Getting out on the water is a great way to spend quality time with friends and family.  Wear your life vest, plan ahead, apply sunscreen, drink water, and be aware. Fresh air and sunshine is a good for all of us!





Wednesday, July 15, 2020

NOS Outside Guide: Stay Safe, Even if you are Slow and Low

Hard core boaters may be out year around, but there are many who only come out when the sun is bright and the temperatures are high.  Having access to local reservoirs, lakes, and rivers is something that may come as a surprise to those who are not familiar with Nevada.  While mountainous, Nevada also has spectacular water features that attract boaters, fast and loud, as well as slow and low.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife is the boating safety, education and enforcement agency.  The goal of the Boating Safety Office is to “create a safe boating environment and experience for Nevada boaters.”  Their website,, provides useful information for boaters of all kind.

People who choose to be slow and low by using canoes, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards are still considered boaters and are subject to many of the same requirements as motorboats.  For example, paddlers are required to carry a life jacket that fits properly for anyone on board, and children under the age of 13 are required to wear the life jacket at all times.  Regardless of how old you are, or how good a swimmer you are, wearing a life jacket at all times simply makes good sense and puts safety first.  Why take a chance and wish you had it on?

Planning ahead is important for a good day on the water.  Be sure to let someone know where you are going, especially if you are alone.  It’s always best to go with a friend, but at a minimum let someone know your plans.  Be sure you have plenty of water and food on board and dress in layers that can be easily adjusted to the quickly changing weather of Nevada.  Also, be sure to wear and reapply sunscreen since being on the reflective water can give you an amazing tan, but it can also burn you bad.

Knowing your boat and equipment is also important.  Practice getting in and out of your vessel in expected circumstances, and in unexpected circumstances.  You never know when you may tip over in the middle of the river or lake and need to either get out of or in from a different position. 

Always be aware of your surroundings.  You may be alone, or you may be sharing with a lot of other boaters and especially if you are in a smaller and lower vessel, never assume others can see you.  If you are with a group, travel together and watch out for each other.  Wearing bright and noticeable clothing is wise, nothing wrong with being easily visible.

Getting out on the water is good fun and good exercise.  Wear your life vest, plan ahead and be aware. 

Get outside and explore the amazing water that Nevada has to offer.  

Have fun out there!