The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects many marine habitats along our coast and the plants and animals who make their homes there. Activities that could cause long-term harm to the ocean's health -- like oil drilling -- are completely prohibited. Many others, like fishing and boating, are allowed. Still other activities, such as educational and scientific studies, are allowed, but monitored.
Sanctuary Visitor Information:
Invitation to the Sanctuary
Water Quality at Public Beaches
Present Weather and Sea Conditions
Kayaking - text from the MBNMS Kayaking brochure
Boating - text from the MBNMS Boating brochure
Diving - helpful resources about diving in the Sanctuary
Motorized Personal Watercraft - text from the MBNMS Motorized Personal Watercraft brochure
50 Ways to Get Your Feet Wet in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Santa Cruz County 2003 (204KB PDF)
Images of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary - take a virtual tour of the MBNMS
Virtual Tide Pool - A great way to explore a tide pool!
Web cams of live video around Monterey Bay
HWY 17 -- looking north (registration required)
Monterey Bay Aquarium Kelp Forest -- (inside)
Monterey Bay -- from Monterey Bay Aquarium's observation deck
Since we're part of the earth's web of life, we have a responsibility to help protect it. Below are some of the many ways each of us can contribute:
While you are a guest visiting the Sanctuary:
- Never feed wild animals. Most have special diets and human food is not healthy for them. It also encourages animals to beg and brings them into close contact where diseases can be transmitted more easily.
- Don't disturb animals by trying to approach too closely or to touch them. Enjoy observing them in their natural homes at a safe distance. Some animals can even be dangerous if you get too close.
- Please do not touch or pick up young birds and animals that appear to be "orphans." Their parents are usually not far away.
- Keep your pets under control. Our animals scare wildlife and may transmit diseases to wildlife or vice versa.
- If you're exploring tide pools, please leave plants and animals where you find them. Many of these animals have found a home in a specific tide pool, on a rock or in a crevice. Removing them, even if you replace them, may jeopardize their future well-being. It's best to look closely, but not to pick up tide pool creatures.
- Please dispose of your trash in a proper container. Larger animals and birds have been known to eat food packaging, film, plastic bags, fishing tackle and other litter as it smells or looks appealing. Other types of trash can entangle and trap animals and birds.
- Look closely, step carefully and try not to touch. Most rocks along the coast are covered with living animals. Instead of picking them up, quietly stop and watch for a few minutes. You'll see and learn much more this way.
- If you touch an animal, touch it gently. If it tries to escape, just let it be. Leave it in its ocean home. Many animals die when pried from rocks, and many need oxygen from seawater to breathe. Always return animals exactly as you found them. Replace any rocks or shells that turn over -- they're roofs for many animals.
- Always watch the ocean waves as they come to shore. Larger than normal waves can suddenly sweep the unsuspecting off the rocks. And watch that you don't get trapped out on the rocks by an incoming tide.
- Also, be careful when walking on the ocean bluffs or cliffs. Edges can give way unexpectedly and rocks can be more slippery than they look. Many people have lost their lives by falling into the ocean from cliffs and overlooks.
- Since the Sanctuary plants, animals, rocks and shells are protected by Federal and/or State law, collecting them is not allowed without the proper permits. To help ease the temptation, leave all buckets, pails, nets and other collecting tools at home.
- Tread lightly, and leave the seashore as clean or cleaner than it was when you arrived.
- Take pictures -- both with your mind and your camera. Leave only footprints in the sand.
While you are at home:
You can care for the ocean as part of your daily life. Remember, what goes down your drains and gutters eventually goes out to sea or gets in your drinking water.
- Use environmentally-safe cleansers.
- Use environmentally-safe fertilizers and garden products.
- Recycle your paints and motor oil.
- Buy only the products that you really need and produce as little trash as possible.