Boating Regulations

Paddlers are Boaters Too

Navigation Boating Rules of the Road

In 2008, the United States Coast Guard responded to safety concerns and classified paddleboards as vessels. This means all paddlers must observe water traffic, obey buoys and signs, and give way to faster, larger vessels. It is important to keep a sharp lookout, and cross bays and marinas with extra care.

People who use paddlecraft (kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, etc.) are required to follow the Navigation Rules and:

  • Carry or wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Life jackets must be worn by paddlers under the age of 13.
  • Carry an efficient sound signaling device such as a loud whistle.
  • Use a white navigation light such as a strong flashlight when paddling between sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility.

It is illegal to operate any watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It is your responsibility to know federal and state boating laws and regulations.

California Boating Laws & Safety Requirements:  Visit www.BoatCalifornia.com for California boating laws and safety requirements.

Boaters who operate any type of motorized vessel on California waterways, are required to pass an approved boating safety examination and carry a lifetime California Boater Card issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways. Once issued, the card remains valid for a boat operator’s lifetime. Visit www.californiaboatercard.com to learn more.

Nevada Boating Laws & Safety Requirements:  Visit www.NDOW.org/boat for Nevada boating laws and safety requirements.

Boaters who were born on or after January 1, 1983 are required to complete a Nevada Department of Wildlife approved boater education course before operating a boat on Nevada’s interstate waters. Learn more about Nevada boating laws with the online handbook.

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No-wake Zones

Under the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Shoreline Plan, Lake Tahoe has no-wake zones to keep all boaters, paddlers and swimmers safe, and to protect shoreline structures and erosion. To learn more, download the Free Tahoe Boating App.

Download the Tahoe Boating App

tahoe-boating-appSearch and discover points of interest while boating and paddling on Lake Tahoe and learn about no-wake zone boundaries and responsible recreation. Location information allows boaters to see their position in proximity to Lake Tahoe’s no-wake zones which requires boaters to stay 600 feet of shore, 100 feet of swimmers and paddlers, and 200 feet of structures. The Lake Tahoe Boating App uses GPS to help you find nearby marinas, boat ramps, public piers, beaches, bathrooms, restaurants, fueling locations, and much more. Download the App HERE.

Get it on Google Play


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Sierra Business Council and the Lake Tahoe Water Trail Committee and their contributors will be in no way responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with the use of this website or printed materials. Good judgment and planning are critical to any successful outing. Before heading out on the water, it is recommended that you check with other sources of information for the latest lake conditions.

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