Tahoe In & Out stickers are eligible for unlimited inspections during the calendar year; decontamination fees may still apply. 7-day Inspection Launch passes are eligible for 1 inspection and 7 consecutive days of inspection seals at launch facilities; decontamination fees may apply. Tahoe Only stickers are reserved for Tahoe wire inspection sealed boats from previous seasons that plan to only launch in Lake Tahoe during the calendar. Boats with current Tahoe Only stickers that DO NOT have an intact Tahoe wire inspection seal will be required to visit one of the roadside inspection stations for an inspection prior to launching and will be required to upgrade their sticker to a Tahoe In & Out for the difference of the fee at that time; decontamination fees may apply.
At the inspection stations you will be greeted by a certified Watercraft Inspector. They will ask you a few questions about your boat and launching history. Then they will physically look and feel for evidence of aquatic invasive species (AIS) inside all compartments of your vessel, including but not limited to the anchor, all bilge & storage compartments, ballast tanks or bladders, ropes & fenders, live or bait wells, etc. They will also inspect the outside of your vessels hull, including the trailer, as well as the engine outdrive & intakes. Once the inspection process is complete, the inspector will inform you if they will need to perform a decontamination, which includes flushing all areas needing decontamination with 140 degree hot water to kill any remaining AIS.
Before you leave the inspection station you will receive an inspection sticker and a Tahoe wire inspection seal. The seal is typically installed through the bow ring of your boat through a secure location on your trailer. At the launch ramps, a certified Seal Inspector will inspect your seal and “check” you in. They will remove your inspection seal prior to launching and install a new one when you haul your boat out of the water. The next time you go to launch, if the Tahoe wire inspection seal is still “intact” you will be able to launch without another inspection. However, if you launch somewhere other than Lake Tahoe or the seal is not “intact” you will be required to visit one of the roadside inspection stations for another inspection prior to launching and to get a new inspection seal installed.
Fallen Leaf Lake and Echo Lake do require all boats to have an inspection prior to launching, and these will be performed at one of the five Lake Tahoe Roadside Inspection Stations 7 days a week. Spooner Lake does not have inspectors on site and does not allow motorized boats to launch. Kayaks, canoes and inflatable watercraft without engines are allowed and should be inspected and Clean, Drained and Dry.
Paddlers should Click here to learn about AIS and how to self-inspect your non-motorized boat and gear. Tahoe Basin Paddlers: Please inspect watercraft and gear to ensure you are not inadvertently transporting clams, non-native weeds or standing water between lakes, even if you only stay within the Tahoe Basin.
Click here to learn more about invasive species within the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The Quick and Easy: Click here
- California registered boaters are required to purchase the Quagga sticker
- Other state registered boaters do not need to purchase
- Boats with a CA Quagga decal still have to go through a Tahoe inspection and pay for the service
- Boats that only boat in marine waters are exempt (coastal and some bay waters)
- The CA fee is being collected by DMV for the California Department of Boating and Waterways
- In the future, the funds will be available for existing inspection programs to apply for program support money. Tahoe and Truckee inspection programs included.
The Nitty Gritty:
Inspectors are looking for any plant or animal, dead or alive, that may pose a risk to Lake Tahoe and the surrounding waters. Primary species of concern include:
- Zebra and Quagga mussels
- New Zealand mudsnails
- Spiny waterflea
- Hydrilla and other highly invasive plants, some of which are already present in California and/or Nevada waters
Invasive mussels are spreading rapidly throughout Nevada, California, and other western states. These mussels attach themselves to practically any hard surface, wreaking havoc on boats, marinas, and water delivery systems. For more information on aquatic invasive species visit www.100thmeridian.org or www.aquaticnuisance.org
- Evinrude E-TEC (2-stroke DFI)
- Mercury Optimax (2-stroke DFI)
- Yamaha High Pressure Direct Injection (2-stroke DFI)
- All Honda engines (4-stroke)
If you are unsure about whether or not your watercraft/engine is allowed on the Lakes of the Tahoe Region, please contact Dennis Zabaglo, Watercraft Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 775-589-5255. Thank you.
Make sure all systems are operational, including batteries, engine(s), pumps, etc. If you have an outboard or sterndrive engine with an outdrive, lower the outdrive on the engine for 10-15 minutes to release any residual water. If you have any special adapters or a flush kit for your engine, please bring them with you to the inspection station. All ballast tanks will require decontamination (separate fee will apply). To expedite this process, ensure the ballast tank pumps are functioning and drain tanks before arrival.
Depending on the complexity of your vessel, decontaminations can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. If you flush your boat’s engine at home, please bring your flush kit and any adapters with you to the inspection station, as we have only the most common adapters and tools for the decontamination process. Non-motorized vessels, such as canoes, kayaks and paddleboards may be decontaminated (especially after visiting infested waters) for no charge at roadside inspection & decontamination stations located within the Tahoe Basin.
Closures and/or delays may occur at winter inspection locations based on forecasted and observed snow accumulations and lake conditions. Delayed openings will occur with predictions of 1-3 inches of snow, and closures will occur with more than 4 inches of snow or other weather advisories, such as a “Lake wind advisory.” All closures and delays will be posted on this website the day prior to a closure and/or delay, or as soon as possible.