Lake Tahoe watercraft inspection fees updated for 2021

Submitted to the Tribune

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board has approved updates to Lake Tahoe watercraft inspection fees and added enhancements to make inspections more convenient following an unprecedented year for the program, the agency said.

TRPA and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District began the watercraft inspection program in 2008 to protect Lake Tahoe from harmful aquatic invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, that have devastated aquatic ecosystems across the Western U.S. The organizations regularly review annual boater fees for inspection services to ensure the top goals of protecting Lake Tahoe and providing a high level of customer service are maintained, according to TRPA.

“This program is looked to as a model across the nation and its success is critical for Lake Tahoe, boaters and paddlers, and our communities,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta said. “Our success depends on maximizing protection while providing safe, dependable service to boaters.”

The update is in response to inflationary increases and the need to hire and retain highly qualified inspection staff, according to the agency. Since inspections began 12 years ago, there have been no new invasive species detected in Lake Tahoe and hundreds of boats carrying invasive species have been intercepted and decontaminated before launch. In 2020, the number of intercepted boats doubled over the prior year.

An optional appointment system will be available for a $15 convenience fee. Each of the three regional inspection stations will have at least two inspection lanes available at all times. One will be for appointments and drop-in boaters, while the other will be dedicated to drop-ins only. The appointment system will be available at ahead of the summer season.

Also updated for this year, the North Shore inspection station will return to Alpine Meadows and no inspections will be conducted at the Truckee airport. Alpine Meadows will have four inspection lanes open on peak days to ensure demand can be met. The Spooner Summit, Nev. and Meyers, Calif. stations are expected to open as usual this summer as well.

Currently, during winter operations inspection services are only available at the Cave Rock Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and Lake Forest Tahoe City, Calif. boat ramps. Boaters are reminded if the plan to launch prior to May 1, it is critical they show up at the ramp clean, drained, and dry to ensure they are able to launch to avoid being sent to another location for decontamination.

Boaters are reminded to show up to inspections clean, drained, and dry to help protect the lakes of the region and to speed up the inspection process. An introduction of non-native species could devastate Lake Tahoe’s fragile ecosystem and native fisheries, impact boats and recreation areas, and could cost the Tahoe Basin more than $20 million annually, according to studies. Visit for more information and to learn how to help protect Lake Tahoe.


Tahoe only – No Change – one year of inspection services

Any vessel with an inspection seal: $45

Tahoe In & Out — One year of inspection services

Personal Watercraft (jet skis): $60

Vessels 0.1 feet – 17.0 feet: $60

Vessels 17.1 feet and greater: $100

Single Inspection

Personal Watercraft (jet skis): $55

Vessels 0.1 feet – 17.0 feet: $55

Vessels 17.1 feet and greater: $80


Decontamination (single system): $20

Complex (wet ballasts): $50

Attached mussels: $250

Source: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

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