Rules & Regulations
Rules & Regulations for the Ventura Harbor
The speed limit in the harbor and entrance channel is 5 MPH.
Resident boaters appreciate the fact that we strictly enforce this ordinance. We also strictly enforce the State 5-MPH speed limit within 200 feet of all beaches frequented by bathers or within 100 feet of any bather.
All California State Boating Laws apply in the harbor as well.
To keep our harbor and beaches clean and safe, all pollution laws are strictly enforced. All spills should be reported immediately to the Harbor Patrol, 805-642-8618 or VHF Channel 16 to facilitate containment and cleanup.
The Ventura Port District contracts with the State of California to provide lifeguard services at the beach during the summer.
Age Limitations on Boating
If solo on a vessel – No person under the age of 16 years old shall operate a vessel powered by a motor greater than 15 HP, or a sailing vessel greater than 30 feet in length, unless it’s a dingy used directly between a moored vessel and the shoreline or between a moored vessel and another moored vessel.
If with other passengers – No person 12,13,14 or 15 years of age shall operate a vessel with greater than 15 HP engine or sailing vessel greater than 30 feet, unless accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years of age and who is attentive and supervising the operation of the vessel.
A person operating a vessel as a performer in a professional exhibition.
A person engaged in a regatta, vessel race or water ski race.
Ventura Harbor is regulated by Ventura Harbor Ordinance 44 which was adopted by the Board of Commissioners in June 2002. A complete copy of the ordinance can be downloaded in PDF format.
Kayak/Stand up Paddle Boarding Rules
A personal floatation device (PFD) needs to be aboard or worn for every person.
Please do not travel between the riprap and the marina especially under the gangways. Harbor Patrol suggests visitors to stay to the side of the channels.
Stand-up paddle boarding while surfing does not require a PFD.
The Harbor Cove beach is a still water beach located across from the National Park Service. The City of Ventura provides lifeguard services at the beach during the summer. It is illegal to swim any place else within Ventura Harbor.
The areas north and south of the harbor are posted as being hazardous for swimming. Lifeguard services are not provided. Rip currents and the jetties make it very dangerous to swim or even wade in either area. A memorial to Harbor Patrol Officer Paul Korber sits at the base of the South Jetty. He died March 15, 1998 while attempting to rescue a family of three that had been swept to sea by the rip current.
Safely Approaching Ventura Harbor from Sea
Due to improvements in the design of the harbor entrance and frequent dredging, it has never been safer to enter and exit the harbor. Still some “local knowledge” will be helpful.
Enter or exit only via the main entrance, between the two jetties. The area behind the breakwater is designed as a Sand Trap and is subject to severe shoaling.
The entrance buoy “2VU” is located approximately ½ mile off the entrance. The prudent skipper always keeps this buoy to the starboard when entering. This keeps him or her away from the mouth of the Santa Clara River which lies ½ mile south of the harbor entrance. As one of the largest naturally running rivers in Southern California, the Santa Clara River provides a tremendous amount of sand to the local beaches. Unfortunately this can create heavy surf conditions far out to sea.