TRPA reflects on first summer of 2-stroke ban |

TRPA reflects on first summer of 2-stroke ban

Andy Bourelle

Most boaters on Lake Tahoe complied with the new watercraft regulations over the summer, according to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“The vast majority of watercraft engines on the lake were compliant,” said Steve Chilton, chief of TRPA’s environmental compliance division. “We have been very pleased with the reaction of the boating public.”

Patrol crews have been scouring Lake Tahoe’s water’s and marinas this summer to make sure boaters were complying with the new carbureted two-stroke engine ban and the two-summer-old-600-foot-no-wake-zone rule.

The bistate regulatory agency issued 525 written warnings for violations of the rules. Boating enforcement officials spoke with hundreds of people, educating them about the new regulations, Chilton said.

TRPA has plans to issue only one citation this year, which will be given to a boating concession using a watercraft with a carbureted two-stroke engine. TRPA has warned the concession owner four times, and if the boat isn’t removed soon the company could face a $5,000 fine.

Pam Drum, spokeswoman for TRPA, would not reveal the name of the alleged violator.

TRPA took action to institute the ban two years ago, and it was finalized this spring. TRPA officials claim two-stroke engines cause more pollution than other engine types.

The ban eliminates most of the engines powering Jet Skis and personal watercraft. Only a couple models of acceptable personal watercraft were available this summer.

Besides personal watercraft, there are other exemptions. Sailboats utilizing two-stroke engines as auxiliary power and watercraft powered by two-stroke engines rated at 10 horsepower or less are exempt for three years.

To enforce the ban, TRPA this summer was focusing on education. Forty thousand registered boat owners in the counties touching Lake Tahoe received a mailing from TRPA. Thousands more brochures were distributed by TRPA crews, marina and boat ramp operators, and area businesses. Signs were posted at marinas, docks and boat ramps.

The agency next year plans to issue fewer warnings before citing violators.

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