San Diego County, Southern California

El Capitan Reservoir Boating

El Capitan Reservoir Boating: Marina, Fees and Rules, Ramps, Rentals

Nearby Lakes

  • Santee Lakes,
    190-acre recreation park with 7 lakes. Camping and fishing.
  • Lake Jennings,
    west of El Capitan Reservoir. Camping, fishing, picnicking.
  • Lake Cuyamaca,
    near Julian on Highway 79. No-wake boating, camping, bird watching, picnicking, hiking
  • Sutherland Reservoir,
    45 miles northeast of San Diego. Fishing.
  • Lower Otay Reservoir,
    east of Chula Vista. Fishing, boat rentals, general boating.

Fish Finder

El Capitan Reservoir Boating in a Nutshell

  • Pleasure Cruising, Fishing Boats, Personal Watercraft
  • Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing
  • Specified days for Waterskiing, Wakeboarding

Boating Information

Because El Capitan Reservoir is a drinking water supply, body contact with the water is limited. Water skiing and similar sports are only permitted on specified days during the summer. Swimming and stand-up paddleboards are not allowed.

Days Open: Thursday - Monday, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
Thursday - Sunday open for general boating and water skiing, etc. (During winter water skiing, etc., are only permitted on Sundays.)
Monday open for fishing and general boating, no water contact activities, e.g. water skiing
Concession and Rentals open Friday - Sunday, 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.

Lake Hours: Change regularly with season, generally one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Check What's New at the City Reservoir Lakes for current opening and closing times.

Fees (cash only)

Entrance: $8 per persons age 16 and older, $2.50 for 8 to 15 years.
Children 7 and under are free.
Boat Launch Fee:   $7 (kayaks free)
Water Contact Fees:   $10 for ages 16 and older, $5 for youths ages 8-15. (This fee is for those using personal watercraft, waterskiing, or similar activities.)

El Capitan Marina and Boat Rentals

Located at the end of El Monte Road
(619) 443-4110,   Rocky Mountain Recreation


  • 2 Launch Ramps   $7 (kayaks, canoes free)
  • Facilities:   2 docks, snacks and drinks for sale, bait and tackle, fishing permits

El Capitan Marina Boat Rentals
Boat Seats 2 Hours Each Added Hour Half Day Full Day
First come, first served. $60 deposit on fishing boats, $30 on rowboats. Credit cards accepted for boat rentals.
Fishing Boat with motor 4 $35 $10 $75
Rowboat 4 $15 $30

New Rules Due to Low Water Level - 2016

Notice from the City of San Diego: "Due to the effects of dropping water levels water-skiing, wakeboarding and all other towable devices will be limited to 25 vessels per day. Once the 25 vessel capacity is reached, there will be no permits sold for water contact towing. Towable devices include traditional water skis, training water skis, air chairs, wakeboards, wakeskates, kneeboards, ski seats, tubes and all other towable devises. Weekends will often reach capacity by 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays are generally slower. Please plan accordingly. Currently there are no restrictions for the launching of personal water craft (PWC) or vessels not engaged in water contact activities that involve towing."
Boat capacity hotline: (619) 668-2770


Avoid the Spread of Quagga Mussels

Fiberglass Restoration

Boaters at El Capitan Reservoir are asked to help avoid the spread of quagga mussels and the potential closure of the reservoir by doing the following:

  • Drain all water from your vessel before leaving the reservoir parking lot.
  • Drain any water through the vessel's hull plug.
  • Drain and dry live-wells.
  • Drain ballast tanks.
  • Empty and dry any buckets.

Any vessel traveling from one freshwater body to another should be thoroughly dry, inside and out. It is best for boats to remain dry and out of the water for at least five days before going to another water body.


Boat Rental Companies

Invert Sports

(888) 205-7119   Invert Sports
Luxury inboard V-drive tournament wakeboard boats, ski boats, and jet ski rentals.
Prices subject to change.

El Capitan Reservoir
Boating and Waterskiing Regulations

  • No pets are allowed in boats
  • Waterskiing in a counterclockwise direction.
  • Maximum speed 35 MPH
  • Skis, kneeboards, and similar devices are permitted, as well as towed inflatables.
  • Each private boat needs a private boat permit (launch fee). Every person in a water contact boat must pay a water contact fee, even if they do not participate.1
  • 3-person personal watercraft may tow skiers, wakeboarders, etc., in the ski zone only.
  • Personal watercraft must be operated in the PWC zone, unless towing a skier.

1Boats are either classified as fishing or water contact, there are no mixed boats. If a boat is towing even one person, it is classified as a water contact boat and everyone on board must pay the water contact fees.


Lake Water Level

At full capacity, El Capitan Reservoir is 197 feet deep.
Current Lake Water Level

Marine Services

Livesay Marine
1250 Pioneer Way, El Cajon, CA
(619) 447-0399

Sunset Marine, Inc
772 Broadway, El Cajon, CA
(619) 593-4006

Sunset Marine, Inc.

Sailor John's Marine
1160 Pioneer Way, El Cajon, CA
(619) 334-7701

JP Marine
10046 Maine Ave., Lakeside, CA
(619) 443-3320

Horizon Marine
1743 31st St., San Diego, CA
(619) 702-8500

West Marine
1250 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA
(619) 225-8844

West Marine


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