Lake Tahoe, CA/NV — 2020 News Archive: Watercraft inspection agencies remind boaters planning to launch at Lake Tahoe this summer that inspections are by appointment only in order to maintain a safer process for boaters and staff and capacity is limited. The Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) are working to increase capacity at regional inspection locations while serving record numbers of boaters. Since 2008, mandatory inspections of motorized watercraft have helped prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species into the lake’s pristine waters and this year alone, six vessels with invasive species onboard have been intercepted.

Boaters are cautioned to expect delays while at Tahoe and to be prepared to change boating plans, if necessary.

Illnesses Can Reduce Inspection Site Capacity and Create Further Delays

The agencies moved to an online appointment system to protect inspection staff and to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by spacing boaters out, reducing congestion at inspection locations, and providing sufficient time to follow CDC sanitation guidelines, the agencies said.

Capacity is being added as quickly as possible, however illness among staff can cause further reductions in inspection capacity. It is imperative that face coverings be worn while outside your vehicle at the inspection stations and 6′ distance is maintained from anyone outside your immediate group.

What do I do if there are no appointments available?

Don’t be discouraged, but prepare to change plans if necessary. Capacity is being added regularly and cancellations do occur, so continue to check the appointment system for openings. If an appointment time is available, it will immediately present itself in the appointment system.

Contact us at 888.824.6267 or email us at [email protected] if you have any questions and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Boater Information on COVID-19 Watercraft Inspections

  • Face-coverings are required while out of the vehicle during watercraft inspections.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from inspection staff and others.
  • Try to arrive with minimal people in your vehicle.
  • Have patience and expect delays while visiting Tahoe.
  • Prepare to change plans while recreating and avoid crowded areas.
  • Prepare for boat inspections by arriving Clean, Drained, and Dry. Wet or hazardous boats must be decontaminated or quarantined, costing additional time or being barred from launching. Visit
  • Enforcement is a critical part of the Lake Tahoe invasive species program and tampering with inspection seals is a major violation with heavy fines.

Thanks to the diligence of boaters and inspectors, no new aquatic invasive species have been detected in Lake Tahoe in the 12 years of the program’s history. Invasive species can have devastating environmental and economic impacts on industries, communities, and native species populations. Watercraft are the largest source for spreading aquatic invasive species into new waterways.