Before going out on the water, whether on a kayak, sailboat, power boat, or other watercraft, always be aware of the dynamic weather patterns in the Santa Barbara Channel and around the Channel Islands. Fog and winds are a challenge to the most experienced boaters. From November through April, expect high winds with clear skies and good visibility when the wind is warm and out of the northeast. Also, when the wind shifts to the northwest, expect high winds. Generally, the sky will initially be cloudy with restricted visibility. The prevailing wind blows from the west to northwest throughout the year. It typically blows between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. with average wind speeds between 10 to 20 mph. Check out our online weather kiosk for up to date weather information in the sanctuary.
- There are no all-weather anchorages around the islands.
- One capable person should stay on board the boat at all times.
- Boaters are responsible for any damage to the resources caused by their boat.
- Discharging or depositing substances, with the exception of fish chumming materials, waters, and biodegradable effluents generated by marine sanitation devices, is prohibited.
- Private boaters may land on all five islands within Channel Islands National Park year round.
- No landing permits are required for the Channel Islands, except for The Nature Conservancy property on Santa Cruz Island.
- Pets are not allowed on the islands.
- Personal watercraft are prohibited within one mile surrounding each island in the Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
- Use caution when approaching a boat with a dive flag. Maintain a distance of at least 100 yards.
Follow veteran commercial and recreational boaters out to sea in this informational documentary about the potential pitfalls of boating off the Southern California coast and how to prepare for and avoid them. Produced by Earth Media Lab
Tips for Clean Boating in the Sanctuary
- Make sure your bilge is clean. If it produces an oily sheen you could be cited.
- Use bilge pads and harbor pump-out stations for sewage and oily bilge. Do not use detergents to clean spills. Report spills to 1-800-OILS-911, or to the U.S. Coast Guard at 1-800-424-8802.
- Recycle your used oil, filters, and antifreeze.
- Use a marine port-a-potty if you do not have a Coast Guard-approved Marine Sanitation Device (MSD).
- Be Green: Use environmentally friendly, biodegradable cleaning products.
- Make sure your insurance is up to date and includes a spill policy, and consider a vessel towing membership.
- Keep your hull clean and free of algae and critters, this reduces introducing invasive species and improves fuel efficiency.
- Use approved sanitation devices and shore pump-out facilities. Contact local harbors and marinas for information about available waste pump-out stations, oil recycling, bilge pad exchanges, and more:
Sanctuary brochures for your next boating adventure
Marine invasive species can have dramatic ecological and economic consequences, and pose a major threat to the sustainability of natural resources within national marine sanctuaries. Because marine invasive species are commonly spread by boats and occur in high concentrations in harbors, preventing their spread to habitats where they do not belong is a shared responsibility among all mariners. Educating and engaging professionals operating in infested harbors about marine invasive species is critical to limiting their spread and impacts.
Boats as Vectors
Because marine invasive species are often transported by boats, harbors tend to be highly infested areas, called âhotspotsâ. Preventing the spread of invasive species by boats is the most successful and cost-effective method of control.
- Wanted - Marine Invasive Species. A short video about identifying and reporting non native marine plants. Produced by Earth Media Lab
- Visit MarineInvasives.org to learn more about invasive algae in California and report your sightings.
- For more information on responsible boating please visit: Boating Clean and Green Program, California Division of Boating and Waterways.
- Visit the Channel Islands Boating Center in Oxnard to learn about boating safely and responsibly.