‘Tahoe only’ inspection seals required to put boats in lake

Record Courier Report
The boat ramp at Sand Harbor State Park.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

No boats from outside of the Lake Tahoe region will be allowed to launch until public orders are further relaxed in an effort to discourage out-of-area visits.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has announced a phased approach to distributing Lake Tahoe aquatic invasive species decals to marinas and launch facilities in line with direction from state and local officials, the agency said Friday.

The agency has been working closely with marinas, launch sites, public health officials, and the Nevada and California governors’ offices on a date to begin opening the lake, first to boats that have intact aquatic invasive species inspection seals. 

Vessels with an intact inspection seal, which are called “Tahoe Only” boats, are typically stored or trailered locally. Allowing them to launch would not invite widespread visitation to the Region, according to agency officials.

“As some areas begin to see the COVID-19 curve flatten, it is critical that boaters, government leaders, and marina managers follow a phased approach that addresses public health and environmental concerns,” TRPA Executive Director Joanne S. Marchetta said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation and encourage boaters to stay up to date on when facilities will open by visiting”

A Lake Tahoe invasive species seal shows that a boat does not need to be inspected or decontaminated to prevent an introduction of harmful invasive species. Inspection stations remain closed under coronavirus orders.

Owners of “Tahoe In & Out” vessels visit other waterbodies during the boating year and approximately 85% of them are from outside the Tahoe Basin. These boats would only be considered to launch in future phases after health orders are further relaxed.

The Lake Tahoe Marina Association said over the next several weeks, marinas and launch facilities are tackling the significant amount of work necessary to ready customer boats and facilities.

“The association appreciates the opportunity to work with TRPA, the states and counties in the Lake Tahoe basin, and the League to Save Lake Tahoe on a plan to restart operations and begin preparations of a phased opening for boating activities,” Marina Association Secretary Cathy Walsh said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the entire Tahoe Community.”

Agencies remind boaters to practice safe physical distancing from others outside of their household and to follow local and state health guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19 disease.

Boaters should also stay informed of recreation area closure orders and guidelines when coming ashore.

For more information on when various marinas and launch sites will open, consistent with state and local COVID orders, visit

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