Boating on Big Bear Lake is one of the most popular activities during the summer
season. On sunny summer days you will find all kinds of boats on the lake, from
tiny aluminum fishing boats, sail boats and hobie-cats to luxury performance boats.
Having a boat on the lake gives you an entirely different view of Big Bear. Boaters
can cruise the shore and see the lakefront homes from the water, they can cruise
into the many coves and inlets and around China Island aka Garstin Island providing
the water is deep enough. China Island is a curious, beautiful, privately owned
island and the tall rock formation behind is a favorite spot for locals and tourists
to climb and jump into the water below. Boating families love the area around the
island for beaching their boats and picnicking. Adjacent to China Island closer
to the dam, there are several public buoys to tie your boat to; you can then relax
and enjoy the views – this is on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you don’t own a boat you can rent one from one of the many marinas in Big
Bear Lake. For boat owners Big Bear Lake has two excellent, well maintained public
launch ramps operated by the Municipal Water District or MWD. The launch ramps are
on the north side of the lake and the launch ramp on the east side near the Stanfield
Cut-off is the Carol Morrison Public Launch Ramp and the launch ramp to the west
is the Duane Boyer Public Launch Ramp. Remember that the maximum boat length is
26 ft and the MWD requires that all boats be inspected and have a boat permit for
Big Bear Lake before they are launched. Happy Boating!
- LAKE PATROL officers are authorized to enforce all laws, ordinances and regulations
in effect on the waters of Big Bear Lake.
- BOAT PERMITS must be properly displayed on all boats.
- BOAT PERMITS may be suspended or revoked when the permittee, owner or operator violates
the terms and conditions of the permit, this Code or other requirements of the law.
- BOAT SIZE REQUIREMENTS: Maximum boat length is 26 feet. Manually propelled boats
less than 12 feet in length and float-tubes are required to operate between the
5 MPH buoys and the shore.
- PUBLIC DOCKS located at the boat launch facilities are for loading and unloading
only; do not leave a boat unattended.
- SANITATION: No refuse shall be thrown into or left on the shoreline of the lake;
no oil from a bilge pump shall be allowed to discharge into the lake; no person
shall deposit any type of fish, amphibian or plant into the lake.
- VEHICLES are prohibited from driving on the lake bottom. Vehicles on District property
must obey posted speed signs and operate in accordance with the Vehicle Code.
- ANIMALS must be on a leash no more than 7 feet long while on District property.
- PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 16 are prohibited from operating any vessel with more than
- PERSONS 12 THROUGH 15 years of age are
prohibited from operating a vessel with more than
15 horsepower unless supervised on board by a
person at least 18 years of age.
- RECKLESS OPERATION: No person shall operate a boat, waterski, or similar device
in a reckless or negligent manner. The owner and op. erator are responsible for
any damage caused by their boat, its wake or its tow.
- BOATING ACCIDENTS must be reported immediately to the Lake Patrol.
- SPEED LIMIT: 35 MPH maximum; 10 MPH from sunset to 7:00 a.m.; 5 MPH between buoys
indicating same and the shoreline; 3 MPH in Papoose Bay, Canvasback Cove and Mallard
- SAFETY EQUIPMENT: All boats must be equipped according to California Boating Law
- LAUNChING: Boats requiring trailers may be launched only from designated launch
ramps. All other boats may be carried and launched at designated recreational or
public access points after obtaining a Boat Permit.
- MOORING or tying to navigational markers is prohibited. Overnight mooring orbeaching
ofboats along shoreline is prohibited.
- CHILDREN under the age of 12 are required
to wear a personal flotation device while on board
a vessel that is underway.
- PERSONAL WATERCRAFT shall maintain a 100 foot distance from all other boats while
operating above wakeless speeds.
- PERSONAL WATERCRAFT operators are prohibited from "spraying down" any person or
vessel in the water.
- PERSONAL WATERCRAFT riders shall wear personal flotation devices.
- HOURS OF WATERSKIING (wakeboarding, tubing, etc.) are between 7:00a.m. and sunset.
- AN OBSERVER at least 12 years of age is required to be on board the boat to monitor
the progress of the skier.
- A RED FLAG must be displayed whenever a skier or equipment is in the water.
- ALL BOATS engaged in waterskiing shall maintain a counter clockwise direction.
- NO PERSON shall operate waterskis or similar device so as to endanger the life of
- AERIAL DEVICES are prohibited to be towed by a boat.
- WATERSKIERS shall wear personal flotation
- FISHING is prohibited from the Dam or from within posted "No Fishing" areas.
- ANGLERS 16 YEARS OR OLDER must have a current fishing license properly displayed.
- 'ALE. FISHING REGULATIONS are strictly
FOR YOUR SAFTEY
- SWIMMING is allowed within 50 feet of the
shore, within a designated swimming area, within
20 feet of a private dock, or as incidental or necessary to waterskiing,jetskiing,
sailboarding or in an
- SCUBA DIVING is prohibited.
- OPERATORS should maneuver boats slowly and carefully in unfamiliar waters since
fluctuating lake levels can cause unmarked natural or manmade hazards to occur.
- TROLLING ANGLERS should display a white trolling flag to indicate to other boaters
that they are trailing a line.
- FISHING BOATS should not impede safe access for waterskiers entering or exiting
a designated ski beach.
- ALL SAILING CRAFT have the right of way over motorized boats, except in an overtaking
- SWIMMERS should always swim with a partner and swim with caution in unfamiliar water.
- LIGHTNING STORMS can develop quickly in the mountains and lightning frequently strikes
the lake's surface. Boaters are advised to quickly seek shelter and safety.
- BE A SOBER BOATER - Alcohol and boating are a deadly mix. 'ICE COVERING BIG BEAR
LAKE during the winter months is extremely dangerous, unstable and deceptive - STAY
OFF LAKE ICE!