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WorldUnited StatesCaliforniaMonterey

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing to Monterey, California.

Port of Entry
36°36.41′N, 121°53.40′W Chart icon.png
Pic or Map of Monterey

Monterey is one of the few natural all weather ports of refuge on the California coast. The bight at Monterey is adequately protected from the prevailing northwesterlies and completely protected from the southerly winter storms yet wide open to the sea allowing for safe arrivals and departures.

Ports and anchorages of the greater Monterey Bay area are located at Santa Cruz, Capitola, Moss Landing, Monterey, and Stillwater Cove. Cruising in the area is predominately day trips between these destinations. Leaving the Monterey Bay area either N or S requires a significantly longer and more exposed transit of the coast. The nearest port to the N is Half Moon Bay, 70nm. To the south 100nm is Morro Bay.

The economy is based on tourism, military installations, and agriculture. The weather in fall and winter in pleasant except during the periodic cold-front storms which bring rain, high seas, and southerly gales. Spring and summer are generally free of storms but do experience gales from the NW. Spring and summer are cool and foggy along the coast with sun and heat a short distance inland.

Monterey was first inhabited by the Rumsen Ohlone tribe. These people apparently led an easy life of gathering the abundant sealife: creating hills of discarded shells wherever they resided. First visit by european explorers was when Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed past November 16, 1542. Reporting that there were people and trees ashore he sailed on. His description was so uninteresting that no other europeans visited for over 200 years when Father Junípero Serra and Gaspar de Portolà founded the settlement of Monterey in 1770. Monterey served as the capital and sole Port of Entry for all of Alta California. All ships entering California were required to call at Monterey to be dutied.


18685 - Monterey Bay
18685-4 - Monterey Harbor (Inset)


Give local weather conditions or refer to another page (a region or island group) that covers these conditions.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

  • NOAA Weather Broadcasts: Marine WX Channel 5 (WWF64 162.45 MHz)


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.


This section does not apply for many islands, remove it if this is the case for this particular. You may, however, list ismall islands adjacent to this one or list one or two of its neighbors.

For islands that have their own page list them as shown below.

  • [[Island1]]
  • [[Island2]]


Add here VHF channel for coastguard, harbor masters. etc.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


From the north and Santa Cruz approach is made across the open, deep and hazard free water of Monterey Bay. Vessels should set a waypoint for the R "4" Fl R 4s BELL buoy at World icon.png 36°37.5′N, 121°53.7′W then proceed SSW to the harbor area.

From Moss Landing vessels should head at least 2nm offshore on leaving Moss Landing due to shoal areas and heavy seas along the lee shore. Then navigate to the "4" buoy as above.

From the south Point Sur, Cypress Point and Point Piños are prominent capes with all the inherent hazards of rocks, weather and currents. Leave the Point Piños R "2" Fl R 6s BELL buoy to starboard. Then steer towards, but somewhat NE, offshore, of the above "4" buoy as the rhumb line runs close to a hazardous part of the coast.

There are no underwater hazards in the area except very close to shore. There is a great amount of kelp in the area, especially in summer and fall wherever the depth is less than 30m. There are many uncharted buoys for research, racing, and other uses in the area. There can be significant fishing and recreational traffic.


Monterey is reportedly still a Port of Entry. There are Passport and Customs officials at the Monterey Post Office, 0.8km SSW. The Harbormaster can probably provide assistance.

For entrance details see United States.


Marinas & Yacht Clubs

  • Monterey Harbor - The Monterey Harbor encompasses the entire area in the vicinity of the commercial, tourist, and Coast Guard piers. The City of Monterey manages this area and the harbor, anchorages and Municipal Marina. Contacts are same as for Monterey Municipal Marina below.
  • Monterey Municipal Marina - Located in the southern portion of the Monterey Harbor. The Harbor and Marina are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All boats must obtain a mooring or berthing assignment from the Harbor Office. Harbor personnel monitor VHF channels 16 and 5. A Harbor security worker comes on shift at 4:00 p.m. until the office opens the next day at 8:00 a.m. Harbor Security will open the office to check in visiting boats. Visiting or "transient" boats are accommodated on a first-come first-served basis in the Marina. There are no reservations. Slips are assigned when a boat is within VHF range. Monterey Municipal Marina provides slips ranging in size from 20 to 50 feet in length. Six end ties accommodate boats from 40 feet to 75 feet. The Marina is a gated facility, gate keys are available to customers; a refundable deposit is required. The Marina currently has a waiting list for slips. The Monterey harbor can accommodate larger vessels at anchor or alongside the commercial piers. Contact Marine Operations Supervisor at +1-831-646-3950. After hours contact Marina Security Officer at +1-831-594-7760. Entry into and navigation within the Marina can difficult for new arrivals. Charts
  • Breakwater Cove Marina - Located in the northwest of the Monterey Harbor at the foot of the Coast Guard pier. Guest berthing available for vessels up to 140'. Monitors VHF channels 9 and 16. Reservations +1-831-373-7857, Fax +1-831-373-2294. Monday-Friday 0800 to 1200 & 1300 to 1700 Weekend contact the Fuel Dock +1-831-647-9402.
  • Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club - Located in the southeast corner of the municipal marina at the foot of the pier. MPYC is a yachting and social club of about 400 members. Regular racing schedule, junior sailing program, galley and bar. Wednesday evening races open to the public. Otherwise access to the club is by invitation or reciprocal only. The yacht club, having only a small dock, does not generally have room or depth for visiting yachts. Clubhouse manager +1-831-372-9686, Fax +1-831-372-2743.


  • Del Monte Beach - Anchorage can be taken off Del Monte Beach east of the Monterey commercial pier and moorings. 5-20m sand and some weed. World icon.png 36°36.20′N, 121°53.20′W Swell can be a factor in some NW weather. Good in S weather of winter storms. Landing on the beach at the foot of the nearby pier. Contact the Monterey Municipal Marina regarding access within the harbor.
  • Stillwater Cove - 12 sea miles from Monterey but only 4 across the peninsula by land, Stillwater Cove is within the private Pebble Beach Resort area. World icon.png 36°33.80′N, 121°56.60′W. Enter only when in sight of and directly S of the pier within the cove. The bay to the W is foul. Stillwater cove is not usable in any S weather or seas. Often pleasant in Summer and Fall. Cove is often full of kelp but there are clear areas and patches of sand. Anchoring close NE of the Pescadero Rocks near the entrance is popular. The mooring balls and pier are private. In summer the pier is staffed by the Pebble Beach Yacht Club. Although private, the staff has always been kind and helpful. Restrooms are at the foot of the pier. Water is available by asking. The beach itself is not private and may be used for dinghy landing, commonly just E of the pier. Land access to the area is difficult because of the private propery. Public parking is very limited. Taxis are available but expensive. Paying the tourist access fee at the Pebble Beach Highway One can be avoided by politely and confidently saying you are going to your boat at Stillwater Cove as it is a sensitive California Coastal Access issue locally. Both casual and fine dining are available at the Pebble Beach Resort, which is within easy walking distance, and Spanish Bay Resort. Sailing and sightseeing in the area is excellent. The resort village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is 2.5km SE. In settled weather the dinghy might be landed on Carmel Beach. Otherwise one can walk on the roads or very discreetly along the golf course paths to the W end of Carmel beach. Groceries, dining, shopping and lodging are available in Carmel.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

  • Quarterdeck Marine Supply, 32 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, +1-831-375-6754. 1km NW of Municipal Marina at the boatyard.
  • West Marine Express, 2024 Del Monte Avenue, Monterey, CA 93940, +1-831-375-1870. 2km E of Municipal Marina just passed the Naval Postgraduate School.

Both chandelries have a moderate stock of yachting goods. Both have free daily service from warehouses and vendors stocking essentially everything.

  • Propane is available at Hodges Rent All, 528 Foam Street, Monterey, CA 93940, +1-831-372-7381, 1.4km NW of Municipal Marina in the Cannery Row area. If Hodges is closed Village Motor Works, 2191 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940, +1-831-649-5105. 3.5km E of Municipal Marina.


Fuel, Water, & Electricity

It is not permitted to load fuels in the marinas. The fuel dock at the boatyard in the NW end of the harbor sells diesel and petrol, +1-831-647-9402, VHF 9 & 16.
Give details on water
Give details on electricity

Things to do Ashore


  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Golf
  • Cannery Row
  • Old Fisherman's Wharf
  • Path of History
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea
  • Pacific Grove
  • Big Sur
  • Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
  • Wineries

Health and Security

  • Health Services - All types of health services are available in Monterey. Community Hospital with 24 hour Emergency services is 3.5km SSW, call 911 or +1-831-624-5311. A walk-in clinic is on the S side of the marina parking lot, opposite the Harbormaster Office.
  • Security - Security of unattended and unlocked possessions in the Monterey area is poor. Personal security is good. The streets in the area of the Monterey Harbor are reasonably safe at all hours.

Grocery & Supply Stores





Motorbike & Car Rentals

Garbage Disposal



List transportation (local and/or international.)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See United States.


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