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Boating - Lake Tahoe


North Tahoe Cruises
Offering a scenic shoreline cruise, happy hour cruise, lunch cruise to Emerald Bay, sunset dinner cruise, full moon cruise, and a sunset dinner jazz cruise. Charter cruises available for weddings and other special events.

The Lake Tahoe Basin offers a variety of boating environments to suit almost everyone, from the deep turquoise waters of Lake Tahoe to the rugged alpine heights of Echo Lakes or the wooded shores of Fallen Leaf Lake. Each of these lakes offers a variety of boating opportunities whether it be fishing, skiing, or just cruising.

Boating Safety

The elements which make up the beautiful Lake Tahoe Basin environment also create significant hazards for boaters. Some of these are:

Wind: Sudden, high gusty winds of sufficient intensity to capsize a small craft are not unusual in the Basin. When a long dark line appears down the lake, gusty winds may be moving in your direction. The best thing to do is find a sheltering harbor.

Underwater Hazards: Beware of underwater obstructions, such as rocks and old pilings which may be exposed or barely covered near shorelines. Very hazardous areas of Lake Tahoe have been marked by the Coast Guard with red buoys, which should be kept between the vessel and the shore. These dangerous areas are shown on the National Ocean Survey Chart of Lake Tahoe, obtained at the Coast Guard Station in Lake Forest, and on boating maps sold at local sporting goods stores.

Water Temperature: The water temperature of local lakes is very cold. Surface temperature is approximately 40 degrees during December through April. Summer temperatures may reach the upper 60's near shorelines. Sudden immersion in ice cold water can cause temporary paralysis with resulting helplessness and loss of buoyancy, causing the victim to sink without returning to the surface. The boater must be prepared at all times for adverse wind conditions. The wearing of personal flotation devices by all passengers aboard and the use of wet suits for water skiing is highly recommended.


• Don't overestimate your boating ability or underestimate the danger of some waterways.
• Be sure to have the required and recommended safety devices.
• Before getting underway, be sure your craft is not overloaded or improperly loaded.


  • No sewage or waster water shall be discharged into the waters of Lake Tahoe. Pump-a-head facilities are located at most marinas.
  • Gas tanks are not to be topped off. If gas is spilled into the lake, you must obtain an oil absorbent sleeve from the dock and absorb the spill.
  • All boats are REQUIRED to place an oil absorbent sleeve in the boat's bilge area.
  • Boats shall be washed only with biodegradable agents which contain no phosphates.
  • Tributyltin Antifouling Paint is not allowed (TBT).
  • All boaters must be aware of safe boating and environmental laws which govern the inland waters and realize the consequences associated with violations.


In order to provide safety and pleasure for all, California Boating Regulations should be carefully studied and observed. You may obtain a copy of the regulations by either writing or calling:

Coast Guard
2500 Lake Forest Road
Tahoe City, CA 96145
530-583-4433 (June - October)


California Department of Boating & Waterways
1629 "S" Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


There is one boat camp, Emerald Bay, located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe. This campground is run by California State Parks and has 10 sites with water and flush toilets. It is open in the summer on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a $9.00 fee to camp. For more information, call 916-525-7277.


Most marinas have gasoline, repairs, supplies, launching, pump-a-head and boat rentals.


Use Channel 16 and say "Mayday, mayday, mayday." Give your vessel name, boat description, location and nature of distress. Release microphone and wait one minute. Repeat your message every minute.

Coast Guard: Cellular 911 or 530-583-4433.

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