Diving at Point Lobos
As a diver, one can enter into a forest of giant kelp to visit a variety of dive areas, starting at Whalers Cove. The depth of the water extends to about 70 feet at middle reef. The underwater seascape is dotted with boulders and valleys that allow the underwater explorer to continuously scan the area for schooling fish, encounter the company of curious harbor seals or otters, and take in multicolored anemones and other bottom-dwelling creatures adorning rock faces and nestled in every crevice.
Thanks to the efforts of the local dive community and the generosity of many donors, a 3D Model of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve Dive Areas was installed at Whaler’s Cove on May 10, 2014. This unique model provides divers with landmarks to navigate the Reserve, and allows non-divers to visualize the underwater wonders – without getting wet! We invite you to visit this model (click here for a printable version) and explore the amazing underwater seascape.
Diving is permitted only in Whalers Cove, Bluefish Cove, and nearby waters, and is tightly controlled by strict safety regulations. A reservation system limits the number of divers on any given day. Online reservations are now being made via the California State Parks site. Any questions or concerns can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Point Lobos SCUBA Diving on the CA Department of Parks and Recreation website for information on diving regulations, reservations, locations, and other things you need to know. The Printable Dive Map includes specific information on dive sites within Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Rules and Regulations
1. Diving permits are limited to 15 teams per day. Each permit is for a team of two divers. Diving alone is not permitted. All divers must have a partner.
2. All divers on the team must be present to be registered. A valid diver certification card must be in your possession at the time of registration. If the card does not have a photo on it, you may be asked for other photo identification.
3. All SCUBA divers must have a device capable of maintaining positive buoyancy.
4. Divers and boats may enter or exit the water only at the access ramp at Whalers Cove parking lot.
5. The diving area is limited to Whalers and Bluefish Coves. All other areas of the Reserve are closed to diving. Snorkeling is NOT permitted at China Cove or Gibson Beach.
6. No dive teams or boats will be permitted to register less than two hours prior to the Reserve’s posted closing time. Closing times are subject to change; check with the kiosk for current closure times.
7. No fishing equipment or collecting tools are permitted in the Reserve. All animals, plants, and natural features in the Reserve are fully protected.
8. The Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and State laws prohibit you from disturbing or harassing marine mammals. Be cautious in the areas where there are nesting birds, they frighten easily. Please keep your distance!! If you approach seals, otters, whales, or seabirds and notice they are alerting to your presence then you are too close. You need to change your direction and move farther away from the wildlife.
9. Hand launchable boats are permitted. Personal watercraft (aka. Jet-Skis) are NOT permitted in the Marine Sanctuary. Four boats per day are allowed. Only dive boats are permitted to launch at the Whalers boat ramp. Leisure boating or boating with the intentions of fishing outside of the reserve is not permitted. If your boat is on a trailer, the trailer must be parked at the Rat Hill boat parking area (see map). Keep speeds under 5 m.p.h. No Wake! Remember, there are areas and beaches that are closed to the public for the protection of the wildlife. Do not come ashore at these locales; including, but not limited to, Headland Cove, Bluefish Cove, and Whalers Cove.