Protect Lake Tahoe from invasive species | Clean, Drain, and Dry all watercraft

All water enthusiasts from boaters to kayakers and paddleboarders are urged to Clean, Drain, and Dry all watercraft before arriving at Lake Tahoe roadside boat inspection stations to avoid delays and decontamination fees. As a reminder, all stations close at 5:30 p.m., so please plan accordingly.

READ MORE: Learn how to perform a self inspection

Every motorized boat is required to be inspected for aquatic invasive species prior to launching in Lake Tahoe. Since May, inspectors have intercepted and decontaminated 14 boats containing invasive species bound for the waters of Lake Tahoe, according to a press release from the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. Without natural predators, these invasive species pose serious threats to the ecology, recreation and local economies of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Watercraft are one of the primary transporters of aquatic invasive species and the inspection program is critical to preventing their introduction into Lake Tahoe and surrounding waterbodies. A new invasive species infestation in Lake Tahoe could have devastating impacts. Invasive species multiply quickly and can colonize all underwater objects including docks, water pipes, filtration systems, piers, ramps, and boats. They destroy fish habitat, impair boat engines, and negatively impact water quality and recreation.

“Our boat inspectors have already found 14 vessels with invasive species this season which is a reminder of just how important the inspection process is to protect our blue waters,” said Nicole Cartwright, aquatic invasive species program manager with the Tahoe RCD, in a press release.

Tips for boaters

  • Visit tahoeboatinspections.com or call (888) 824-6267 for inspection locations, hours, fees and information about boat inspections and invasive species. Details may also be found in each edition of Tahoe Weekly and under the Boating tab at TheTahoeWeekly.com.
  • Weekdays and mornings are typically less congested at roadside boat inspection stations. Friday evenings, Saturdays and holidays are typically the busiest.
  • Prior to arriving, make sure your vessel is clean, drained and dry.
  • Returning Tahoe boats with a Lake Tahoe wire seal still affixed to the boat and trailer may head directly to a launch ramp to purchase a 2017 Tahoe Only inspection sticker.
  • Check that all systems are working, batteries are charged, the boat has gas in the tank and that you have the key to start the engine. Bring any specialized flushing adapters to the inspection station as inspectors only have the most common types and sizes.
  • If flushing your engine at home prior to inspection, make sure to drain all residual water. If inspectors find water on your boat, they are required to decontaminate.
  • Annual watercraft inspection fees for 2017 range from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet up to $121 for vessels more than 39 feet in length. An additional fee of $35 is charged for any boat requiring decontamination, with an additional $10 fee for ballast systems. Fees are payable via Visa or MasterCard (no cash or check).

Self inspection for paddlers

Paddlers of kayaks, canoes and other non-motorized watercraft are encouraged to stop by an inspection station for a free inspection.

Visit tahoekeepers.org to learn how to self-inspect boats and gear and receive a free Tahoe Keepers sticker.