The Boating Safety Unit is responsible for marine enforcement and rescue activities on all of the counties numerous waterways. This is accomplished by enforcement of County, State and Federal Boating Laws, vessel inspections, and public education.
The largest and most challenging is Lake Tahoe where we have a 54 square mile jurisdiction on the lakes south end which includes the most popular attraction, Emerald Bay, where a major portion of the lakes boating activity occurs. At an elevation of over 6200 feet in the Sierras and with depths of over 1600 feet this lake can be treacherous. Due to unpredictable weather conditions, and water temperatures as low as 44 degrees, unprepared boaters can face circumstances, which may be deadly. To accomplish our mission on this lake the department operates a 27 ft vessel designed to handle a marine environment similar to the Alaskan coast.
Other areas include the Crystal Basin, Jenkinson Lake, and Folsom Lake Recreational Area, which are used as a haven by El Dorado County and Sacramento Valley residents. These lakes are patrolled by a variety of jet boats and Personal Water Craft.
El Dorado County is unique in that we conduct a Whitewater Raft Patrol on a 20-mile stretch of the South Fork American River. This is one of few Whitewater Patrols operated by a Sheriff's Department in the nation. This patrol navigates over Class IV rapids and has contact with over 150,000 rafters during the rafting season which runs from May to September
For more information on boating safety and education, visit the Department of Boating and Waterways website at http://www.dbw.ca.gov