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Agua Hedionda Lagoon Boating Regulations

For more information, please reference the Carlsbad Municipal Code 11.24.

Please become familiar with the following boating regulations:


Powerboat regulations

Powerboats shall be limited to use in the middle area of the inner lagoon, between the personal watercraft and passive use areas, and shall maintain a counterclockwise traffic pattern when in the powerboat area. Boats and skiers shall comply with the following rules and procedures:

    • Boats shall maintain a counterclockwise pattern in the powerboat area.
    • No take-offs or drop-offs are allowed in the personal watercraft area, vessel transit corridor, or passive use area at any time.
    • Take-off traffic shall standby until the way is safe and clear before starting.
    • All drop-offs shall be done parallel to the shoreline; the boat shall not "hook," instead it shall remain parallel to the shoreline. Once the skier drops off, the boat shall stop, draw in the towline and, when safe, make a small counterclockwise turn back to the desired beach location.
    • The maximum number of tow lines used behind any boat shall be two; the maximum number of skiers behind any boat shall be two.
    • When towing two skiers and one skier falls, the second skier shall let go of the towline. The boat shall then follow established procedure and safety precautions for skier pick-up and takeoff procedures.
    • No unattended ski equipment may be left in the lagoon.
    • Towing of any object or aquatic device (excluding water skis and wake boards) is subject to approval by the city, in advance.
    • No boat shall pull into the beach with towline dragging behind.
    • Vessel racing is prohibited unless approved in advance by the city.
    • Creation of large wakes within the inner lagoon is prohibited, except when necessary for starting and stopping. (Large wakes are defined as wakes in excess of 12 inches when measured from the undisturbed water surface to the top of crest.)



Speed limits and vessel operation at night

    • The maximum vessel speed limit is 45 mph.
    • From sunset to sunrise, no person will operate a vessel at speeds in excess of 5 mph.



Maximum powerboat length and number on water

NOTE: Any powerboat 20 feet 6 inches and over must be inspected prior to being issued a permit. Contact the Monroe Street Pool (760-602-4685) to schedule an appointment. The maximum powerboat length allowed on the inner lagoon is 21 feet or less.  The maximum number of powerboats using the water in their designated area at any one time will not exceed 30.  [>top]


Excessive engine noise

It is unlawful to operate a power vessel unless it is properly muffled at all times and does not exceed sound levels established by the state.  [>top]


Personal watercraft (PWC) regulations

    • PWC are limited to use in the PWC area and will maintain a counterclockwise pattern when in their area. A person may not operate nor give permission to operate a PWC to tow a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar device.
    • As defined by the Harbors and Navigation Code 651(s), PWC means a vessel less than 12 feet in length propelled by machinery, that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing or kneeling on the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.
    • The maximum number of PWC using their area at any one time will not exceed 15.



Passive vessel regulations

The public may only launch passive vessels at public accesses which are open from sunrise to sunset for walk-in traffic only. All passive vessels are limited to use in the eastern end of the inner lagoon, within the passive use area and shall remain outside the slalom course area when it is in use.

The maximum allowable length for passive vessels is 18 feet. The maximum number of passive vessels in their designated area is 40 at any one time. Boardsails are not to exceed 20 at any one time.

Public access: Bayshore Drive

Public access to the passive use area is subject to the following regulations year round:

    • Open for walk-in traffic only, from sunrise to sunset. It is unlawful to drive a motorized vehicle on a public access when posted for walk-in traffic only.
    • Only passive vessels with a valid lagoon use permit may be launched at the Bayshore Drive public access.



Transit within vessel corridors

When buoys are placed out from the shoreline to establish vessel transit corridors, it is unlawful to travel on the shore side of such buoys except for transiting from one area to another at speeds not to exceed 5 mph. No towing of any aquatic device or person is allowed between the buoys and the shoreline. No water ski take-off is permitted in the transit corridor, between the buoys and the shoreline. No mooring or anchoring is allowed in the lagoon.  [>top]

Contact Information


Monroe Street Pool
3401 Monroe St.
Carlsbad, CA 92008