Roadside boat inspection stations opening at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Roadside boat inspection stations opening at Lake Tahoe

The Meyers boat inspection station is now open for the season.

Roadside boat inspection stations are starting to open for the 2018 boating season.

On Tuesday, May 1, inspection stations opened at Meyers, Spooner Summit and Alpine Meadows. The Truckee-Tahoe station off Highway 267 opens Thursday, May 17. The inspections are part of larger effort to combat aquatic invasive species.

"The fact that we are entering our 10th season with no new invasions, proves that boat inspections are doing what they are intended to do — protect Lake Tahoe," Dennis Zabaglo, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's aquatic resources program manager, said in a press release. "The Tahoe RCD boat inspectors have allowed us to be ready for any invasive species that could potentially enter the lake."

All motorized watercraft require an inspection before launching into Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, Echo Lake and Donner Lake, according to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (TRCD). Invasive species, such as quagga mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and hydrilla, are known to multiply quickly and colonize underwater surfaces, including docks and piers, water supply and filtration systems, buoys, moored boats, and even the beautiful rocky shoreline.

Boats and other watercraft are the largest transporters of AIS, and the inspection program is critical to preventing their spread into Lake Tahoe and other waterbodies.

Knowingly transporting AIS into Lake Tahoe is against the law, and violators may be subject to monetary penalties.

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Since 2008, TRCD inspectors have performed over 70,000 vessel inspections and decontaminated 32,576 of them using hot water. Inspectors have found hundreds of vessels containing foreign species such as mussels, snails and plant material over the past 10 seasons.

"Boaters are encouraged to visit the website or call the hotline to learn how to Clean, Drain, and Dry their boats prior to arriving at inspection stations," Chris Kilian, AIS program manager for TRCD, said in a press release. "Save time and money by making sure to drain all water from the intake systems, clean out your vessel, and make sure it is dry. Taking these three simple steps will get you on the water faster."

Annual watercraft inspection fees remain unchanged from last year. The "Tahoe In & Out" inspection ranges from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet and up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The "Tahoe Only" inspection sticker is $30. If your vessel is not clean and dry, decontaminations are available for $35. There is an additional $10 fee for the decontamination of ballast tanks or bags.

Invasive species are highly opportunistic and can be transported by non-motorized water recreation equipment as well. The Tahoe Keeper program was created to inform the paddling community about the importance of inspecting equipment, including: kayaks, paddleboards, fishing equipment, inflatable water toys, and life jackets. For more information visit TahoeBoatInspections.com/tahoe-keepers.