How to Protect Lake Tahoe and Your Paddle Gear

Inflatable paddleboards are easy to carry and can help alleviate parking congestion. While users want to reduce their paddle-footprint, many are unaware that the water that collects in the folds, gear, and carrying bags can transport aquatic invasive species (AIS) that ruin Lake Tahoe’s ecology and water clarity.  This standing water can also cause mold and mildew, and weaken the seams of their paddleboard. 

Be a Tahoe Keeper and follow these steps to ensure all of your gear is clean, drained, and dry to prevent the spread of AIS and to protect your gear.

Before you Launch:

  1. Unload gear from carrying bag away from the lake.  Inspect for water, mud, and weeds.
  2. Open carrying bag flat so the inside can dry in the sun.
  3. Inflate paddleboard – Inspect deck pad, mounts, straps, and air valve that can leak and take in water!
  4. Inspect paddle, life jacket, leash, fin, etc. for water.
  5. Wipe your board and gear thoroughly with a towel. Let the sun and air dry it.

While gear is drying, download a LTWT Day Trip Map, check the weather, and file a float plan.

After you Land Clean, Drain, and Dry all gear before you leave the beach!

  1. Keep your paddleboard inflated. Inspect your air valve for water intake.
  2. Clean and drain your board and gear including straps, leash, fin, life jacket, and shoes.
  3. Throw mud and weeds in a trash can or take home with you.
  4. Disassemble paddle and drain water on the beach. Clean and dry with your towel.
  5. Make sure your carrying bag is completely dry.
  6. Dry your board and gear thoroughly before packing and moving to another launch site.

It only takes 1 drop of infected water or mud to contaminate Lake Tahoe and any body of water.  Weeds, Asian clams and New Zealand mudsnails choke our waterways and create unhealthy algae blooms.  Decontamination of paddle craft and gear is free at a Tahoe Boat Inspection station.

Never use bleach or detergents to clean your gear.

Thank you to the North Tahoe Community Alliance who invested TBID marketing funds into the production and distribution of this important educational video.

The Lake Tahoe Water Trail is a Sierra Business Council sustainable recreation tourism project. Learn more about SBC's innovative social, environmental and economic development projects in the Sierra Nevada at www.sierrabusiness.org.


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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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