Boater Information

General Information

  • Lake Boating Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
  • All children twelve years old or younger must wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when boating
  • No person under 16 years of age shall operate a motorboat with more than 15 horsepower
  • Persons 12 to 15 years of age may operate motorboats of more than 15 horsepower when supervised onboard by someone at least 18 years of age

Lake Use Regulations

  • Boaters shall keep a valid Lake Use Pass on the vessel at all times
  • All motorized vessels shall be launched from authorized launch ramps
  • Vessels operating on the lake shall not exceed a maximum of 40 feet in length, unless authorized from the City Manager
  • Vessels must travel in a counter-clockwise direction outside the Slow/No Wake Zone
  • Boating Speed Zone Limits
    • No Wake Zone located between shoreline and the No Wake buoy- line
    • 35 MPH Zone located between the No Wake buoy-line to the center of the lake
    • Inflatable vessels or vessels that are powered by human force or small trolling motors (5 miles per hour or less) are to stay in the Slow/No Wake Zone
    • High Speed Zone (HSZ) located between HSZ buoys in the center of the lake
  • High Speed Zone's Seasonal Speed Restrictions
    • Maximum speed limit is 35 MPH in the High Speed Zone on Weekends and Holidays from May 1st September 30th Maximum speed limit all other days is 150 MPH
    • Boaters must be at least 16 years of age to travel in excess of 35 MPH in the High Speed Zone
    • Boaters in excess of 80 MPH must meet the special conditions of LEMC Section 996150 (F) for tethered kill switch, helmet and PFD
  • All power vessels must carry a fully charged Type B-1 or equivalent fire extinguisher that is Readily accessible
  • All boats/vessels must have on Type I, II or III (wearable) personal flotation device for each person onboard and on READILY accessible
  • All gasoline powered motorized vessels shall have at least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls (except outboard motors)
  • Inflatable towables are permitted in accordance with LEMC Section 996200
  • Non-directional, personal watercraft course zones are permitted in accordance with LEMC Section 996170
  • No anchoring is permitted outside the No Wake Zone
  • Sheriff's Lake Patrol monitors Marine VHF Channel Number 68
  • No mooring of vessels is permitted to any navigational marker, buoy or axial flow pump station platform

Personal WaterCraft (PWC)

Operators of Personal Watercraft (PWC) must follow the same rules of operation which govern all boating and waterskiing on Lake Elsinore In addition, the following rules and regulations must be observed:

  • Two Stroke Engines are allowed on Lake Elsinore
  • All PWCs may carry no more than manufacturer's designation
  • PWC operators and passengers must wear an approved PFD (personal flotation device) at all times
  • PWC must be equipped with a Type B-1 fire extinguisher
  • The required age for operating a PWC is 16 years or older
  • All operators should be cautious when turning or overtaking another vessel and must yield the right-of-way to the vessel on the right or the vessel being passed
  • Passing too close to other vessels can be dangerous at any speed Keep a minimum distance of 25 feet from any other vessel
  • Vessel operators may not turn sharply in close range of any person or vessel to "spray them down"
  • Sharp turns, such as 180 and 360 turns, are prohibited Those who fail to observe direction of travel will be cited
  • Vessel operators may not operate at a speed and proximity to another vessel to cause either vessel to swerve at the last minute to avoid collision Speeding, racing or reckless operation of a PWC is strictly prohibited and illegal
  • When pulling a skier, the PWC must be designed to carry 3 persons, and carry no more than two with one passenger designated as the observer

Waterskiing, Wakeboarding, Tubing

  • One observer is required onboard besides the operator and must be 12 years old or older while a boat is towing a skier
  • A red signal flag must be displayed when a fallen skier or ski rope is in the water
  • Starts and drop-offs shall be in deep water beyond the No Wake Zone
  • Skiing within 100-feet of other vessels, skiers, or hazards is strictly prohibited
  • Passing a tow line over another boat or skier or towing a skier within 100-feet of another boat skier, or downed skier is prohibited
  • The number of water-skiers being towed by one boat at the same time is limited to two (one inflatable allowed per boat)
  • When a skier falls, the boat operator should return in a safe manner as soon as possible in a tight counter-clockwise direction when practical to retrieve the fallen skier
  • Loose skis must be retrieved immediately Skiing in or around regulatory buoys is prohibited
  • It is unlawful for any person to employ a tow line greater than 75-feet in length
  • Ski ropes must be retrieved immediately when skiing is discontinued
  • Towing inflatables is now permitted
  • The Inlet Channel is a restricted area and requires a special pass from the Concessionaire

Additional Lake Use Regulations can be found on the Code Publishing website.


Safety is our number one priority. All boaters must carry approved safety equipment and may be subject to inspection. Visitors are advised to heed all safety rules and posted signs in and around the Lake. Be water wise and be safe. Please review the lake rules when planning a visit.

For more information on Shoreline Safety, please view the Shoreline Safety (PDF).

Quagga / Zebra Mussels Alert

Hand Holding MusselsQuagga/zebra Mussels in California waters could result in an environmental and economic disaster. They can cause a shift in native species and disrupt the ecological balance of entire bodies of water. The mussels clog water pipes, coat piers and ruin boat motors. Transferring a boat from an infested water to another water could spread the mussels.

Lake Elsinore is not infested with the quagga mussel and we need the public's help to keep the lake free of this invasive species!

Please inspect your boat before launching. Do not launch your boat in the lake if you discover quagga mussels. For more information visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website or call 866-440-9530.

Vessel Inspections

Get your vessel inspected by the United States Coast Guard and if you pass the inspection, receive a free daily lake use pass for your next visit to the Lake.

Vessel inspection dates are tentatively as follows:

  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • 4th of July Weekend
  • Labor Day Weekend

Visit the Vessel Safety Check website for more information.

California Boater Card

Get your card here:

Starting January 1, 2018, Senate Bill 941 requires California boaters to obtain a California Vessel Operator Card (CVOC). The CVOC requirement will be phased in over 8 years.

  • January 1, 2018: Persons 20 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2019: Persons 25 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2020: Persons 35 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2021: Persons 40 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2022: Persons 45 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2023: Persons 50 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2024: Persons 60 years of age or younger
  • January 1, 2025: All persons regardless of age

Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Boating Courses

Take a Boater Safety Course to get a discount on your annual lake use pass.

To register, reach out to Pete Dawson.

The U.S. Coast Guard hosts Auxiliary Public Boating Courses are hosted at:

Lake Elsinore Marine
18010 Grand Avenue
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530

The 2020 Calendar Dates are to be determined. Visit the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary website for more information. Classes are subject to change; please confirm registration with United States Coast Guard representative.

Boating Safety Discount Program

The City shall provide an equivalent price discount on Annual Lake Use Pass to boaters voluntarily taking a local (Flotilla 114-11-05 Tri Lakes) USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety Course and receiving a certificate of completion. The Course fee is $75. This discount would be available to individual boaters once every three years. This program shall be capped at 100 discount passes at $75 each or $7,500 per year.

Court ordered boaters taking the Boating Safety Course are not eligible for this discount; however, the City will provide them one FREE Daily Lake Use Pass. This program shall be capped at 100 free Passes per year. The City will issue a maximum of 100 FREE Daily Lake Use Passes to the USCG Auxiliary Boating Safety Instructor for distribution to boaters passing said course.

The City shall provide one free Daily Lake Use Pass to boaters who consent and pass an annual courtesy Boat Inspection conducted by the USCG Auxiliary. This program shall be capped at 500 free Passes per year. The City will incrementally issue a maximum of 500 FREE Daily Lake Use Passes to the USCG Auxiliary for distribution to boaters passing the inspection. The USCG Auxiliary shall maintain a record of Boater CF#s passing the inspection.

The Boating Safety Discount Program is available based on City budgetary availability and may be terminated at any time by the City Manager.