Local Restrictions on Personal Watercraft and/or Two-Stroke Engines

State law allows local public agencies to regulate boating in certain categories: Three of those apply here and are listed below:

  1. Speed Zone
  2. Special-use Areas
  3. Sanitation and Pollution Control

A special-use area is all or a portion of a waterway that is set aside for specified activities to the exclusion of other incompatible uses or activities. Below is a list of waterways with local personal watercraft (PWC) or two-stroke bans or restrictions: NOTE: Many of these restrictions were passed because of conflicts between PWC and other boating activities, before the advent of the environmental issues with two-stroke engines. In addition, there are many other lakes (not listed here) where boating of one type or another has never been allowed.

Agency/Waterway Type Effective Date
Anderson and Calero Reservoirs, Santa Clara Valley Water District - Allow PWCs that meet CA Air Resources Board 2001 standards. May implement further restrictions if any gas-related chemical contamination detected in periodic water sampling. 3 July 2004
Anderson Reservoir -170 watercraft per day allowed. Calero Reservoir - 60 to 70 watercraft per day allowed. Coyote Reservoir -1 watercraft per six surface acres (Santa Clara Valley Water District Reservoirs) 3 Aug. 2004
Bass Lake, County of Madera – Area set aside for PWC. 1, 2 June 1995
Berkeley Marina – No PWC within 1500 ft. of the shoreline or fishing pier except in the 200 ft. wide access corridor designated by Harbormaster from a boat launch ramp at marina to a point further than 1500 ft. from shoreline. 2 2006
Canyon Lake, County of Riverside – No PWC. 2 June 1991
City of Carlsbad – PWC restricted on part of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. 1, 2 May 1994
City of Los Angeles – Pier 300 shallow water habitat. No PWC. 2 April 1993
City of Pacifica – No PWC on specified ocean beaches. 2 April 1990
City and County of San Francisco – No PWC within 1,200 ft. from shoreline (with exceptions). 2 Oct. 1998
City of Sausalito – No PWC launching or retrieving. 2 April 1994
Collins Lake Recreation Area, Collins Lake (private) – No PWC. 2 May 1991
County of Marin, All Waterways – No PWC. 2 Nov. 1999
County of Santa Cruz – PWC prohibited within 300 yds. of shore, except to launch or land. 2 June 1990
Coyote Lake – Max. 35 PWC per day. From May 1-June 1, powerboats allowed with receipt issued within past 2 days from any of 5 area stations selling non-MTBE gas. 3 May 2000
Diamond Valley Lake and Lake Skinner - No PWC. Only engines that are 4-stroke, 2-stroke equipped with direct fuel-injection or 2-stroke engines that comply with 2001 or later CA Air Resources Board emissions standards and use MTBE-free fuel. ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS 3 June 2003
Donner Lake, Town of Truckee –- Prohibition of high emission two-stroke engines only if water fails to meet State drinking water standards. 3 July 1999
Farallones National Marine Sanctuary – No PWC off Sonoma and Marin County coasts, from Bodega Head to Rocky Pt., near Stinson Beach. Federal Oct. 2001
Lakes Tahoe, Cascade, Fallen Leaf, and Echo - Dept. of Boating and Waterways and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – Motorboats must meet 2001 CA Air Resources Board emissions standard. (Carbureted and NON-direct fuel injection engines prohibited) 2 June 1999
Los Vaqueros Reservoir, Contra Costa Water District – All motorboats are prohibited. 3 Aug. 1998
Millerton Lake, Fraint, CA. Read the public notice. 3 May 2013
Mission Bay, City of San Diego – Area set aside for PWC. 2 July 1988
Modesto Reservoir, County of Stanislaus – Two-stroke vessels allowed only with MTBE-free fuel. 3 Mar. 2000
Monterey Marine Sanctuary – Restricted Use of PWC Federal July 1996
Pine Crest Lake, County of Tuolumne – No PWC. 2 Mar 1990
Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service – No PWC. Federal April 2000
Scotts Flat Lake, County of Nevada – No PWC. 2 Sept. 2004
Seal Slough (Marina Lagoon), City of San Mateo – No PWC. 2 July 1988
San Pablo Reservoir, East Bay Municipal Utilities District – (a) Only four-strokes or equivalent emission level allowed. 3 Jan. 2000
San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area (San Luis Reservoir, O'Neill Fore Bay, and Los Banos Creek Reservoir). Read the public notice. 3 July 2015
Whiskeytown Lake, National Park Service -No PWC Federal April 2002