Tahoe boaters to see fee increases
by Justin Scacco
The cost of putting a boat on Lake Tahoe will increase this season for the first time in seven years as part of the Shoreline Plan approved last fall by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
The increase in boat sticker fees at inspection sites includes an additional $12 as part of the Shoreline Plan, which supports boating, paddling, swimming and other water-based recreation, while ensuring effective natural resource management.
Part of the fee increase will go toward projects to prevent harmful aquatic invasive species from entering the lake, stronger boating safety education and no-wake zone enforcements.
Cost of getting a Tahoe In and Out pass, which includes unlimited inspections during the calendar year, for personal watercraft or vessels up to 17 feet increased from $30 to $55. Also, the 2019 inspection fee structure for boat stickers reduced the 13 categories of vessels to five in order to more accurately reflect inspection work and boat complexity. Instead of five Tahoe In and Out pass categories for vessels 17 feet and longer, there is now one category for vessels 17 feet, 1 inch and larger, costing $95. The fee is a decrease for vessels more than 26 feet, which previously cost up to $121. Vessels between 17 feet and 21 feet previously paid $55.
Tahoe-Only passes, reserved for wire inspection sealed boats from previous seasons that will only launch on Tahoe, cost $45 for all vessels. Single Inspection passes cost $50 for personal watercraft and vessels up 17 feet. Larger vessels cost $75.
Decontamination fees cost $15 for a single system or wet ballast, $40 for multiple systems or wet ballasts, and $200 if mussels are attached.
“In 2018, the Lake Tahoe Boat Inspection Program celebrated 10 years of success, with no new invasions since the program began,” said Tom Boos, TRPA aquatic invasive species prevention coordinator, in a news release from TRPA. “The 2019 fee schedule allows for the sustainability of the program.”
The aquatic invasive species of most concern currently in Tahoe, according to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, are Eurasian watermilfoil, curlyleaf pondweed, largemouth bass, Asian clam, bluegill, bullfrogs and goldfish.
“Proven methods are being used to systematically remove aquatic invasive species infestations around the lake,” said Sara Matthews, Tahoe Resource Conservation District aquatic invasive species control coordinator, in a news release from TRPA. “These projects contribute to improving natural lake habitats and the quality of recreation.”
Boat inspections are currently available at Cave Rock State Park on the South Shore, and at the Lake Forest boat ramp on the North Shore between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Roadside inspection locations at Spooner Summit, Alpine Meadows and Meyers will open on May 1. The Truckee inspection station will open May 20. Donner Lake boat inspections are available only at Lake Forest.
Also included in the Shoreline Plan for this season is stronger enforcement of the 600-foot no-wake zone around the shoreline of Lake Tahoe. The plan expanded the no-wake zone to include all of Emerald Bay and created a 100-foot no-wake zone around swimmers and paddlers as well as a 200-foot no-wake zone around shoreline structures. Vessels must stay under 5 mph when boating within a no-wake zone.
New provisions to keep boats with aftermarket exhaust systems that exceed TRPA, California, and Nevada noise limits from operating on the lake will also be enforced this year.
Also new at Lake Tahoe will be the launch of the Lake Tahoe Boating App. The app informs users about lake attractions, how to enjoy Tahoe safely, and locations of no-wake zones. The app is slated for a summer launch.