It’s no secret-one of the absolute greatest things about living in the Sierra Nevada is our close proximity to one of the most beautiful lakes in the word. Lake Tahoe is truly the crowned jewel of the Sierra. With it’s crystal clear water, stunning surrounding landscape, and year-round activities, we are truly blessed to live so close!

And there’s nothing better during the warm summer months than to grab the family and head out on the water in your boat! Boating on Tahoe is truly a unique and wonderful experience. Here are some tips to make your trip up to Tahoe safe and stress-free.

1. Know the Lingo.

Not all boats are boats!

  • If your watercraft is less than 16 feet long, it is typically referred to as a “personal watercraft.” This also includes recreational watercrafts, such as Jet Skis, which are very popular on Lake Tahoe!
  • Actual “boats” by definition, run from 16 feet to about 25 feet.
  • Any watercraft longer than 26 feet long are officially classified as “yacht.”

Insurance for these different types of watercraft vary greatly. Contrary to what you might think, bigger is actually better. Yachts and boats are often times less accident prone than a smaller personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.

Insurance for personal watercraft can often be “bundled” with other insurance policies, such as your home or auto policy, which can often mean savings. When shopping for coverage, look for a policy that covers injuries to you and your passengers, as well as liability. (Insider tip: Be sure to consider insurance for the trailer you use to haul your watercraft up the hill.)

2. Know the Law.

Boating is fun, but don’t let a summer family outing turn into a tragedy. Nevada State Law requires all persons age 13 and under to wear life jackets while on a boat. Vessels are   also required to carry life jackets for all passengers. And remember, boating and booze don’t mix! NEVER consume alcohol while operating a watercraft.

In an effort to preserve the clarity of the water and to protect the native wildlife, boat inspections are mandatory for Lake Tahoe. Before you can enjoy the water, you must get all watercraft, boats, yachts, etc inspected. Inspection sites are located at all public ramps and private launch sites, as well as along many lakeside highways. Inspections often last up to 30 minutes. Our time is a small price to pay for protecting our pristine lake from aquatic invasive species who, if left unchecked, could lead to devastating environmental and economic consequences.

3. Know the Weather

The old saying in Northern Nevada that everyone knows-”Don’t like the weather? Wait ten minutes.” And it’s true! With snow storms in June, the occasional tornado-like funnel cloud, and damaging winds, when in the Sierra you must be prepared for everything an anything! Dress accordingly to weather conditions. Wear sunscreen!  Consider storing ponchos and emergency blankets on board in case of adverse weather conditions strike and you are unable to make it to shore. Can’t decide on weather or not to bring that light jacket with you? Bring it. You never know!

As always, if you have any questions regarding boating insurance, feel free to contact us. This particular type of insurance isn’t very consumer friendly. But luckily, our agents are well versed in all aspects and know the ins and outs. Let us take care of all those questions for you!

Some useful websites:

Tahoe Boat Inspections: For the latest on inspection fees, inspection sites, and information regarding aquatic invasive species.

Nevada Department of Wildlife: The safety, education, and enforcement agency for Nevada. Information about permits, laws, and other regulations all boaters need to know.