Dive Regulations

Underwater activities shall mean engaging in activities beneath the surface of the water and include skin or free diving, and the use of SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus). You must secure a reservation to dive at Point Lobos.

  • Diving permits are limited to fifteen (15) teams on any one day. Each permit is for a team of two divers. Diving alone is not permitted. All divers must have a partner. Permits are only valid for the date issued.

  • All divers must register at the entrance station prior to diving. All divers on the team must be present to be registered. A valid diver certification card must be in your possession at the time of registration. If your card does not have a photo on it, you may be asked for other photo identification. Snorklers do not need a certification card but still must have a dive partner.

  • All SCUBA divers must have a device capable of maintaining positive buoyancy.

  • Divers and boats may enter or exit the water only at the access ramp at Whalers Cove parking lot.

  • The diving area is limited to Whalers Cove and Bluefish Cove. All other areas of the Reserve are closed to diving. Snorkeling is not permitted at China Cove or Gibson Beach.

  • No divers, kayakers or paddle boarders will be permitted to register with less than two hours prior to the Reserve's posted closing time. Closing time is posted at the Entrance Station.

  • No fishing equipment or collecting tools are permitted in the Reserve. Please remember, all animal and plant life, and natural features in the Reserve are fully protected. Please take only photographs and good memories. Everything else should remain undisturbed.

  • The animals can chase you, you cannot chase them. The Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and State laws prohibit you from disturbing or harassing harbor seals, sea lions, whales, and sea otters. Always give them plenty of room. Be cautious in the areas where there are nesting birds. They frighten easily. Please keep your distance!!

  • Hand launchable boats, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks are permitted. There is a boat or vessel launch fee payable through our reservation system. RESERVATIONS ARE MANDATORY TO BRING A KAYAK, BOAT OR STAND-UP PADDLE BOARD ON THE WEEKEND. Limit four kayaks or boats per day (other than those used by registered divers). If your boat is on a trailer, the trailer must be parked at the Rat Hill boat parking area (see map). Please keep speeds under 5 m.p.h. No Wake! Remember there are areas and beaches that are closed to the public for the protection of the wildlife. Do not come ashore at any point in the Reserve other than the boat ramp in Whalers Cove.  All beaches are strictly off-limits to watercraft.
  • Picnicking is only allowed at the tables. No barbequing or fires allowed in the Reserve.