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sail boatCruising offshore by motor or sail is a wonderful way to experience the sanctuary. Always check weather conditions before you go.

Click on the links below for more information about boating in the sanctuary.


Boating Tips

Help Keep Sanctuary Waters Clean

The sanctuary has some of the cleanest coastal waters in the world. Help keep these waters clean by following Coast Guard regulations for sewage discharge from vessels. Boaters should use approved sanitation devices and shore pump-out facilities. The pump-out station in Monterey Harbor is located on Wharf 2; in Moss Landing Harbor it is across from the harbor office. At Pillar Point and in Santa Cruz Harbors, pump-out facilities are at the fuel dock.

Sanctuary regulations prohibit the discharge or dumping of materials into sanctuary waters. Be careful when cleaning your hull or applying new bottom paint. Use tarps and clean up after yourself to keep all waste products from entering the water. Use nontoxic and biodegradable products when possible.

Spills Aren't Slick

Fish, birds, and mammals are especially sensitive to even small amounts of toxic compounds in oil, fuel, and other petroleum products. You can help wildlife by preventing fuel spills and bilge oil discharge. Put absorbent pads in your bilge and wipe up any spills quickly. Use absorbent pads, not detergents to clean spills. Report spills you see to 1-800-OILS-911, or to the US Coast Guard (1-800-424-8802).

Remember, it makes sense to recycle used oil, filters, and antifreeze. Waste oil containers are located at Wharf 2 and next to the Harbor Master's office In Monterey Harbor, at the gates leading to A and B docks at Moss Landing Harbor, at the fuel dock in Pillar Point Harbor, and at the maintenance shop in the upper Santa Cruz Harbor.

Marine Debris Can Kill

You can make a big difference by picking up floating plastic Wildlife can get entangled in plastic items or mistake them for food. Animals may die of starvation or poisoning when plastic is 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. Recycle and reduce solid waste by using reusable products.

Watch Your Speed

Speeding boats are dangerous to marine life and people. Please drive slowly near sensitive habitats such as kelp forests and bird rookeries to minimize disturbance. It is especially important to operate your boat slowly close to shore, the area frequented by marine mammals, birds and people. Stay clear of surfers, divers, swimmers, and kayakers. Motorized craft are prohibited in some areas. Harbors have speed limits, and California law limits speed to 5 mph within 100 ft of a bather or within 200 ft of a beach. In parts of Santa Cruz County, speed is limited to 5 mph within 900 ft of the beach.