Boaters encouraged to arrive at Lake Tahoe inspection stations clean, drained and dry |

Boaters encouraged to arrive at Lake Tahoe inspection stations clean, drained and dry

A Lake Tahoe-bound boater prepares for inspection at a roadside station.

The Fourth of July holiday and fireworks celebrations always bring a welcomed influx of boaters to the Lake Tahoe Basin. With sunny skies and warm temperatures predicted for the week, boaters are urged to clean, drain and dry their boats before arriving at roadside inspection stations to avoid delays and decontamination fees. All stations close at 5:30 p.m., so plan your travel accordingly.

Inspectors are required to inspect every boat for the presence of aquatic invasive species prior to launching in Lake Tahoe. Since May, inspectors have intercepted and decontaminated nine boats containing invasive species bound for the lake — without natural predators, these invasive species pose serious threats to the ecology, recreation and local economies of the basin.

“The fact that several Tahoe-bound boats with invasive species present have already been intercepted this year underscores the importance of watercraft inspections and the strong work by Lake Tahoe boat inspectors with the Tahoe Resource Conservation District,” said Dennis Zabaglo, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

“It’s important that boaters do their part by arriving clean, drained and dry,” Zabaglo added. “Inspectors see more than one-third of annual boat traffic during the summer holidays, so arriving clean, drained and dry will help you save time and money.”

Watercraft are the largest transporters of aquatic invasive species and the inspection program is critical to preventing their spread into Lake Tahoe and surrounding waterbodies. Any new invasive species infestation in Lake Tahoe could have devastating impacts.

Invasive species multiply quickly and can colonize on all underwater objects including docks, water pipes, filtration systems, piers, ramps and boats. They destroy fish habitats, impair boat engines and negatively impact water quality and recreation.

Visit or call (888) 824-6267 for updates, details and information.

Quick tips for boaters visiting the Tahoe Basin this summer

-Visit for inspection locations, hours, fees and information about boat inspections and invasive species.

-Weekdays and mornings are typically less congested at roadside boat inspection stations. Friday evenings, Saturdays and holidays are typically the busiest

-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 2015 Tahoe Only inspection sticker.

-Prior to arriving, make sure your vessel is clean, drained and dry. 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. Water is water, and if inspectors find water they are required to decontaminate it.

-Annual watercraft inspection fees range from $35 for personal watercraft and vessels under 17 feet up to $121 for vessels over 39 feet. The annual Tahoe Only sticker fee is $30, along with an additional fee of $35 for any boat requiring decontamination, and a $10 fee for ballast systems. Fees are payable only via Visa or MasterCard (no cash or check).

-Paddlers of kayaks, canoes and other nonmotorized watercraft are encouraged to stop by an inspection station for a free inspection and urged to visit to learn how to self-inspect boats and gear, and receive a free Tahoe Keepers sticker. Join us July 19 at Commons Beach in Tahoe City or at Live at Lakeview in South Lake Tahoe on Aug. 13 for our second-annual Tahoe Keeper Appreciation events.

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