Lake Tahoe Boating Rules and Regulations
  • Taking a boat onto the glistening waters of Lake Tahoe exhilarates and thrills, and comes with a few rules and regulations to keep the experience pleasurable for everyone on the lake. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) has recently launched Blue Boating, a new comprehensive guide to boating safety and regulation at Lake Tahoe. This establishes a 600-foot no-wake zone from the shore, around the entire lake. This includes a posted speed limit of 5 MPH, and enforced by a patrol boat. Areas marked with white buoys indicate underwater obstructions, and the buoys should be kept between the vessel and the shoreline.

    Despite the generally safe conditions afforded by Lake Tahoe, boaters need to be prepared for dangerous situations. When out in the water, individuals should ensure their vessel is equipped with the safety equipment required by federal law. Such items include lifejackets, fire extinguishers, a whistle, a bell or horn, a visual distress signal or flare, a ventilation duct allowing for proper ventilation of inboard gasoline engines and a backfire flame arrestor for inboard engines.

    Also, the wind can be quite gusty and cause unsafe boating conditions, so know the weather before you set out: TV Channel 31, 93.9 FM or 590 AM, or VHF Channel WX1. The most important thing to know about the new boating policy is the inspection requirements which state that an Aquatic Invasive Species inspection or an intact inspection seal are required BEFORE you arrive at any Lake Tahoe boat launch facility this year.

    There are six inspection sites: Northstar at Tahoe, Alpine Meadows, Myers California (HW 89 and 50), Spooner Summit, Homewood and Incline Village. Boaters also need to buy a Watercraft Inspection Sticker, either at the inspection site or at the first boat launch of the season. More info on that here: Complete Guide to Boating Lake Tahoe. Public launching facilities are available at Sand Harbor, Cave Rock, Lake Forest, Ski Beach, Incline Village, Tahoe Vista, Kings Beach and El Dorado Beach. (Check out the marina map.) For private launch facilities and other information, check the directory for listings. And remember, don’t drink and drive – it’s against the law!