IS A MOTORIZED PERSONAL WATERCRAFT?
"Motorized personal watercraft" (MPWC) means: any vessel, propelled by machinery, that is designed to be operated by standing, sitting, or kneeling on, astride, or behind the vessel, in contrast to the conventional manner, where the operator stands or sits inside the vessel; any vessel less than 20 feet in length overall as manufactured and propelled by machinery and that has been exempted from compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard's Maximum Capacities Marking for Load Capacity regulation (i.e. any vessel waived from Coast Guard capacity plate requirements) found at 33 CFR Parts 181 and 183, except submarines; or any other vessel that is less than 20 feet in length overall as manufactured, and is propelled by a water jet pump or drive. The term includes, but is not limited to, Jet Skis®, wet bikes, surf jets, miniature speed boats, air boats, and hovercraft.
As a personal
watercraft rider you are also considered a boater. Personal watercraft
are defined as Class A inboard boats by the U.S. Coast Guard and are required
to follow most boating regulations. For more information, contact the
U.S. Coast Guard or the California Department of Boating and Waterways.
To help protect Sanctuary habitats and sensitive marine life, it is unlawful for any person to operate motorized personal watercraft except within five designated zones and access routes (click here for a map) within the Sanctuary.These zones and access routes have been established by federal regulation (15 CFR, 922.132(a)(7)). Motorized personal watercraft may launch only within the identified harbors and must proceed directly to the operating zone outside each harbor through the specified access route. Zone boundaries are marked by buoys and navigation aids. Zone 5 at the Mavericks surf break in Half Moon Bay is only open when official High Surf Warnings are in effect for San Mateo County during the months of December, January, and February. For more information about the Mavericks zone, click here.
FOR RESPONSIBLE WATERCRAFT USE:
Protect Sensitive Shorelines
From wave-swept beaches and lush kelp forests to tranquil estuaries,
the Sanctuary's near-shore habitats are fragile and full of life. The
motorized personal watercraft operating zones are designed to provide
special protection for these areas. Stay within the zones and access routes
at all times, and launch and return to shore only within the designated
Out For Wildlife
You may encounter sea birds, sea turtles or marine mammals such
as sea otters, seals, sea lions, whales or dolphins while riding in the
Sanctuary. Many of these animals are threatened or endangered, and all
are protected by federal law. Although it may be tempting to approach
them for a closer look, please watch them from a distance. Avoid harassment
(which is illegal) by staying at least 50 to 100 yards away. Harassment
includes causing an animal to change its behavior. If you want to observe
wildlife while riding, idle your speed to reduce wake and noise, and watch
quietly from a non-threatening distance. Disturbing animals deprives them
of needed rest, may interrupt or stop feeding, or force them to burn precious
energy by fleeing. These impacts can weaken animals and lead to death
by stress, starvation or disease.
can be dangerous to marine life and people. Avoid areas concentrated with
wildlife, such as large gatherings of sea birds resting on the water,
or groups of marine mammals. Minimize disturbance by riding slowly near
sensitive habitats such as kelp forests. Check with authorities for state
and local speed restrictions.
Noise may disturb birds or marine mammals resting on the surface.
If you encounter wildlife, slow or idle your speed to reduce noise and
the chance of harassing any animals you see.
The Sanctuary has some of the cleanest ocean waters in the world.
To protect marine wildlife, it is illegal to discharge or dump materials
into the Sanctuary. Please observe this rule and do your part to help
keep the Sanctuary's waters clean.
fish, mammals and sea turtles can get entangled in plastic or mistake
it for food, and die of starvation or poisoning from plastic in their
stomachs. Plastic debris in the water can also foul propellers and clog
or damage engine intake systems. Always stow your trash for disposal in
port, and help remove plastics from the marine environment.
small amounts of oil or gas can be deadly to marine wildlife. You can
help protect wildlife by preventing fuel spills. Fill your tank slowly,
don't overfill, and wipe up any accidental spills quickly with an absorbent
pad. Report spills you see to 1-800 OILS-911 or the U.S. Coast Guard at
Contact the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Office at 299 Foam
Street, Monterey, California 93940, (831) 647-4201. For a brochure of Sanctuary regulations pertaining to MPWC, click here.