Boating at Cachuma Lake
Cachuma Lake Vessel Requirements
- Canoes: Must be at least 9 feet long with a maximum occupancy label from the manufacture attached.
- Kayaks (rigid: sit-in or sit-on-top): Must be at least 9 feet long and used in accordance to manufacture specifications for single or tandem occupancy.
- Rowboats: Must be at least 9 feet long with a maximum occupancy and weight label from the manufacture attached. The design must be with a rigid floor and rigid transom or rigid frame system as designed by the manufacturer.
- Inflatable/Collapsible Kayaks and Canoes: Vessels must be at least 9 feet in length, with a minimum depth of 12 inches in the passenger carrying space, and may not carry more than 2 persons. Additionally, vessels must be labeled with certification for design and function capacities. Collapsible canoes must have a rigid frame system designed by the manufacturer. Inflatable vessels must have 2 or more inflatable chambers. Inflatable vessels with oral inflation/pinch valves are NOT permitted. The launching of Inflatable/collapsible vessels is ALWAYS at the discretion of on duty Park Staff.
Boats, Sailboats, Motorized Vessels (including electric motors):
- Sailboat Traditional: Must be at least 10 feet long with minimum depth of 12 inches in the passenger carrying space with a maximum occupancy and weight label from the manufacture attached.
- Sailboat Catamaran (with trampoline decks): Must be at least 14 feet long with a maximum occupancy and weight label from the manufacture attached.
- Motorized (trolling motor included) Kayak, Canoe, and Small Craft: Must be at least 10 feet long with a maximum occupancy and weight label from the manufacture attached.
- Inflatable Boat: Must be at least 10 feet long and must have a rigid floorboard and solid transom as designed by the manufacturer with 2 or more inflatable chambers. Inflatables under 12 feet long and 48 inches wide may carry no more than 2 persons.
- Collapsible Boat: Must be at least 10 feet long with a maximum occupancy and weight label from the manufacture attached.
- Simple Boat: A "simple boat" must have an open hull with single wall design, no compartments, and a single outboard motor. Simple Boats must be a minimum of 10 feet in length and usually with a smaller (20hp or less) outboard motor.
- Complex Boat: Any traditional boat with a hull and or compartments with a larger permanent style attached outboard or inboard motor.
- Jet boats that do NOT have a drain plug in the jet system.
- Sport boat with bag-type or inaccessible ballast tank(s).
- Any homemade or Do-It-Yourself modified vessel as determined by Park Staff.
- Any vessel with an internal restroom or holding tank(s).
- Float tubes.
- Stand-up paddleboards.
- Rafts or Inflatable vessels with oral inflation/pinch valves.
- Any vessel not used in accordance to its original manufacturers design.
- Personal watercraft of any kind.
- Any vessel longer than 25 feet.
Cachuma Lake is a domestic water supply therefore: swimming, water skiing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, or any other body contact with the water is prohibited. All boating on Lake Cachuma is subject to our boat launch protocols which provide for the prevention of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), the safety of our guests, and the protection of our waterways. Santa Barbara County Parks enforces a 30-day vessel quarantine on all trailered vessels entering Cachuma Lake. A quarantine period of this length provides additional protections against the invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussel species.
Click for more information about Quagga and Zebra Mussels
Click for detailed information about the Boat Launch Protocol
All vessel inspections (boats, canoes, kayaks, etc.) are available between 7:00AM and 3:00PM, 7 days a week with no appointment necessary. Cachuma Lake allows same-day launching for "simple boats" with current California registration. To qualify as a "simple boat", the vessel must have an open hull with single wall design, no compartments, and a single outboard motor. The vessel must enter Cachuma Lake property Clean, Drained, and Dry. Any form of moisture will deny access. A simple boat will go through a visual inspection, a heated power wash, and a heated engine flush.
All Kayaks and Canoes must start their day at the Front Gate of the park between the hours of 7:00AM and 3:00PM. The vessel must enter Cachuma Lake property Clean, Drained, and Dry. Any form of moisture will deny access. All kayaks and canoes will go through a visual inspection and heated power wash.
All vessels (boats, canoes, kayaks, etc.) are required to check in at, launch from, and return to the main launch ramp. Launching from any other location in the park is prohibited. Boats with a Cachuma Lake boat launch security tag may enter the launch ramp prior to 7:00AM when earlier lake hours apply. Wind, weather, or other conditions may cause closure or limitations to vessels at any time and without warning. The on duty Park Staff will determine any daily lake closures or limitations.
Cachuma Lake offers year round access with the exception of Thanksgiving Day (7AM-3PM) and Christmas Day (closed to boating). All kayaks and canoes must be off the lake or near the launch ramp at least 1 hour prior to the posted lake closing time. For traditional vessels, the daily lake hours can be found on our Business Hours Page
All vessels must adhere to current State of California registration requirements. All vessel with any form of motorized propulsion (fuel or electric) must be registered with the State Of California with the STOP Aquatic Nuisance endorsement sticker. All required items, rules and regulations as posted by US Coast Guard apply on Lake Cachuma at all times.