Boating in Los Angeles: Everything You Need to Know
There’s a lot to get starstruck about in Los Angeles, including the boating scene. That’s right! Boating in LA is one of the most popular activities besides strutting down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This should hardly surprise you with so many amazing water destinations — beaches, marinas, islands. Here we’ll go over everything you need to know about boating in LA:
- Four top boating destinations in LA
- Watersports to try when in LA
- Boating laws in LA
Read the post entirely for a Pro Boatsetter Tip!
4 Top Boating Destinations in LA
- Marina del Rey
- Santa Catalina Island
- Silverwood Lake
- Long Beach
1. Marina del Rey
Marina del Rey is a boater’s dream — thousands of boat slips, delicious restaurants, glamorous scenery, stunning water views — it’s everything (and more) anyone looking for paradise could want. Check out some of our boat rentals available there.
This seaside community is known for its iconic amusement pier, nightlife, boutique shops, and the overall vibe of a coastal playground for boaters. Just sitting here will make you feel like you’re on vacation.
The bay connects to the Pacific Ocean, allowing you to catch incredible sunsets, sight marine animals, and reel in great fish.
If you’ve got small children, check out Marina Beach (or Mother’s Beach). It has no surf, so it’s perfect for small children. You’ll find barbecue grills, picnic areas, playgrounds, and volleyball courts.
2. Santa Catalina Island
Santa Catalina Island is a yachting hub internationally famous for clear waters, scuba diving, kept forests, and over 700 moorings.
The island feels like paradise with its constantly warm and subtropical climate. It is never winter here and is occasionally visited by luxury cruise ships and massive yachts.
Couples will find the island romantic, with tasteful casinos, beachy cabanas, island spas, romantic dinners, seaside drinks, fantasy hotels, and so much more.
Families love Santa Catalina Island because it offers mini-golf, kid-friendly island tours, nature preserves, fun beaches, educational museums, glass-bottom boats, and more.
Santa Catalina is a place you have to see to believe.
3. Silverwood Lake
Silverwood Lake (or Lake Silverwood) is a recreational zone for boaters, jet skiers, anglers, and shoreline waders. It’s surrounded by a 2,400-acre state forest, covered in gorgeous old-growth Douglas fir trees, black oak trees, and mountainous creeks.
There is a four-lane launch ramp for boaters as well as a fuel dock, store, cafe, and trailer parking.
Please note that there is a speed limit for the entire lake of 35 mph. No more than 125 boats are permitted on the lake at a time. The lake is worth the hype because it is so beautiful and well-maintained.
4. Long Beach
Long Beach has a cool view of Santa Catalina Island and is known for its waterfront attractions, fishing pier, sunny weather (it usually averages 345 sunny days a year), several Grand Prix events, and diversity.
Long Beach has big waves that take skill and confidence. Walking up Long Beach, you’ll find Bolsa Chica, which is much more beginner-friendly.
Long Beach is a great place to sail, too. You’ll be in good company with many other sailors and nearly perfect winds.
Pro tip: Make your trip here really count by visiting two states on one boating day. Check out the beautiful Lake Havasu located right on the border of Arizona and California. Here’s our Lake Havasu Boating Guide, Havasu Restaurants on the Water, and Marinas on Lake Havasu.
Watersports to Try in LA
The waves are good for more than just surfing; get on a jet ski and see how much fun awaits you! From your jet ski, you’ll have great views of the city, surrounding islands, gorgeous colorful sunsets, and many other jet skiers who are out on the water to catch a good time and a wave too.
Los Angeles has one of the best surfing scenes in the world. Its beaches come with various wave types, sizes, and difficulties.
Some of the best beaches for surf beginners are Zuma Beach, Venice Beach, Topanga Beach, Surfrider Beach, and Manhattan Beach!
Is there anything more Los Angeles-esque than paddleboard yoga? This gives you the chance to be out on calm waters while practicing yoga, catching warm rays of sunshine, and improving your balance with a zen group of people.
You can take private or public classes at Marina del Rey Mother’s Beach or Ventura Public Launch Ramp. Even if you haven’t used a paddleboard before, your instructor will show you how, make you feel comfortable, and then ease you into dozens of poses. This exercise improves strength, flexibility, balance, and overall individual tranquility.
Rent a sailboat, or charter a captain to take you out for an unforgettable experience. Exploring the water without a noisy engine is an incredible opportunity to let you peacefully view marine animals such as dolphins, sea lions, and coastal birds. You can also watch the lively city from a distance, watch the sun sink down below the horizon, join in on good conversations, learn about the art of sailing, and relax a little.
Wine & sunset cruises
Wine and sunset cruises are a great way to get outside, enjoy yourself, unwind, make good conversation, meet fun new people, and learn about new wines, especially wines local to southern California. Have a sweetly intimate and romantic night with your person, or go out with a group of your best friends. Good music and delicious drinks never stop, so have fun and make new memories with the people you admire most.
Deep sea fishing
Unlicensed fishing is allowed at public piers. If you want to fish from a boat, though, you will need a license, but ultimately you’ll be rewarded with more space for yourself and better fishing spots.
There are over thirty species of gamefish in LA waters. They say anglers bring home hundreds of pounds of fish after being out for more than a few hours!
You’ll also likely catch some sharks, halibut, perch, sea bass, mackerel, and so many other fish.
Boating Laws in LA
All boaters must be 16 years old or older and have a California Boater Card to operate vessels with 15hp or more.
All boaters on personal watercraft or being towed must wear a life jacket. For all other vessels, it is recommended that all people wear a life jacket, but the minimum requirement is that they have a U.S. Coast Guard Approved life jacket on the boat and in an easy-to-access place.
The general direction of travel is counterclockwise, with the exception of paddleboarders, kayakers, canoers, and sailors. Five mph zones are non-directional.
Alcohol possession and consumption are only legal on your vessel and cannot be brought ashore in day-use areas. BUI will be subject to arrest, fines, and even jail time.
Discover the waters of more destinations like Los Angeles at Boating Guides & Resources!