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Boating in Santa Clara County Reservoirs

Published on: 3/17/2015 3:12 PM


All vessel owners must present a hard-copy of their current vessel registration to park staff before proceeding to a mussel inspection station. Registration must be:

  • Current
  • Registered in a non-banned California county (North of the Tehachapi Mountain Range, except San Benito County). Vessels with out of state registrations will not be allowed to launch.
Owners who have purchased a used powered vessel are quarantined for 30 days from the date of transfer.  If you do not have credible evidence that you have possessed your used powered vessel for 30 days, you will not be permitted to launch.

All vessels must pass a vessel inspection prior to launching on a Santa Clara County reservoir. To pass inspection, your vessel must be “clean and dry”. “Clean and dry” means that no dirt, vegetation, or water can be found anywhere on the vessel. This includes internal compartments of the vessel and the engine. When your outboard is lowered, not a drop of water can flow out. If any water is observed anywhere, however slight, your vessel will fail inspection!

For more information on our Vessel Inspection Program, view here.


Beginning April 15 through October 14 (7 days a week from 8am to 1/2 hour before sunset):

  • Calero, Anderson and Stevens Creek Reservoirs will be open to all boating.
  • Lexington Reservoirs will be closed to all boating due to low water level.

Beginning October 15 through April 14 (8am to 1/2 hour before sunset):

  • As of Feb. 16, 2015 Coyote Lake will be open to boating seven days a week (inspections required).
  • Anderson, Lexington and Stevens Creek will be closed to all boating.
  • Calero Reservoir will be open to all boating 7 days a week as water levels permit.
  • All other reservoirs and bodies of water are closed indefinitely to boating (including model boats) - those are Almaden, Chesbro, Sandy Wool, Cottonwood, Grant, Guadalupe, Uvas, and Vasona.

Check our website or call (408) 355-2201 before you travel to make sure your reservoir of choice is open.

To see current closures or restrictions, view here.


  • During peak season, boating reservations can be made online​ or by calling (408) 355-2201. Reservations are not available in off-season.
  • Effective January 1, 2014 there will be a modification in how the $7.00 and  $35.00 annual inspection fees will be collected.  
    • ​​​​All vessels, including float tubes, will be subject to inspection and shall pay an inspection fee.  Previously float tubes without oars were exempt from the fee.
    • ​There will be a $7.00 annual vessel inspection pass available for vessels with no CF# (float tubes, stand up paddle boards, and remote control model boats).  The non-CF# annual pass may not be used on a boat with a CF#, or a row boat / dingy with a trolling motor.  
    • ​The $35.00 annual vessel inspection pass will still be available for vessels with a CF#.  Owners with vessels with CF#s can elect to pay the $7.00 one-time inspection fee and participate in our banding program. If the boat returns un-banded, another $7.00 inspection fee will be due.​
    • An annual vessel inspection pass is only good for one inspection on one vessel per park entry.  This includes remote controlled boats.  Visitors with remote control boats will need to purchase a $7.00 unlimited annual pass for each boat that they need inspected.
  • Annual passes can be purchased at Parks Administration, 298 Garden Hill Drive, Los Gatos, or at any open County Park kiosk.
  • ​In addition, there is a $6.00 launch fee per vessel at power boating reservoirs, or a $5.00 launch fee at non-power boating reservoirs, as well as a $6.00 parking fee.

For user groups with special boating or model boat permits, there will be a change in the affidavits that the Department requires users to sign.  All boaters with special permits will have resident status so long as they do not launch on a non-county managed waterway.  If the vessel launches on a non-county managed   waterway it must return to an inspection station to be inspected.  Users with special permits who do not comply with the vessel inspection requirements will have    their special permit revoked.

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