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Personal Watercraft (Jetskis)

Photo of man and child on jetski

El Capitan Reservoir is the only reservoir in San Diego County that allows the use of personal watercraft, such as Jetskis, Waverunners, etc. One arm of the lake is dedicated to the use of these vessels.

See What's New for the current schedule.

All patrons must purchase a daily use permit which is non-transferrable. See Permits & Fees (daily) for prices. Also needed is a private boat use permit for each personal watercraft. All permits may be purchased at the reservoir.

All personal watercraft must have the following Coast Guard approved safety equipment in good working condition:

  • All operators and passengers must wear a type I, II or III personal flotation device when operating on any City reservoir.
  • All operators must carry a fully charged type B-1 or equivalent fire extinguisher that is readily accessible.

California boating law, local rules and common boating courtesy must be observed at all times. Since personal watercraft are classified as Class A inboard vessels, operators must follow the same rules of operation that govern all boats in any particular waterway. In addition, all local rules and regulations must be observed at all times, including:

  • All personal watercraft must be properly muffled at all times to meet state and local noise requirements.
  • The maximum speed limit is 35 mph and restricted to the personal watercraft operating area.
  • The general direction of all vessels is counterclockwise.
  • The required age for operating a personal watercraft is 16 years or older.
  • All personal watercraft are required to clearly display approved registration numbers permanently affixed on the vessel, and carry their certificate of number on board.

The number of personal watercraft allowed on the lake at any one time is determined by how safe lake personnel feel it is. Three-person personal watercraft can tow a skier, wakeboarder, or inflatable in the ski zone only.