Drones prohibited

Unmanned aircraft systems, also known as aerial drones or quadcopters, are prohibited in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. They are disruptive to wildlife and visitors. Please leave your drone at home when visiting the Reserve.


A Statement From Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Regarding The Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

The use of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as aerial drones or quadcopters, has markedly increased in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) during the past year. It is important for operators to know that these aerial vehicles are regulated above the waters of the marine sanctuary. In many coastal waters, they are not allowed at all.

Drones and piloted aircraft flying at low altitude over beaches and the ocean disturb and frighten wildlife, especially sensitive animals like seals, sea otters, seabirds and shorebirds. For this reason, four overflight restriction zones were established in the sanctuary by the federal government in 1992 to protect marine life from aerial disturbance. Motorized aircraft, including model aircraft and drones, must remain above 1000 feet altitude if they fly over any of these four designated overflight zones. Since the Federal Aviation Administration has determined that model aircraft and recreational drones cannot exceed an altitude of 400 feet within U.S. airspace, this means their use in these zones is illegal under all circumstances.

The four restricted zones include coastal waters from the mean high tide line up to five nautical miles offshore, and encompass a wide band of sanctuary coastal waters:

from the north end of Pescadero Marsh south to Point Santa Cruz;
from the Carmel River mouth south to Cambria;
from the Sunset State Beach parking lot south to the CEMEX Sand Plant, Marina;
over the main channel of Elkhorn Slough.