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Harbor Rules and Regulations

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Newport Harbor is considered the jewel of Newport Beach by our community members. It is one of the largest recreational harbors in the U.S. and is highly used for multiple recreational activities. We have many rules and regulations in place to protect and preserve the harbor for all to enjoy for generations to come. 

There are many benefits to maintaining a clean harbor: improved water quality; cleaner and safer for boating, fishing and swimming; healthier fish and marine life; reduced maintenance costs; and increased waterside property values and economic development. We ask all harbor users and visitor to help us keep Newport Harbor clean and beautiful.

The Newport Beach Municipal Code Section 17- Harbor Code covers all aspects of regulations for the harbor. Below is some information for general harbor users and boaters to follow. 

General Rules

  • No wake zone
  • Maximum speed limit is 5 mph
  • No discharge zone
  • No dumping of garbage, waste or other materials
  • Follow best management practices during boat operation and maintenance
  • No unreasonable noises between 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Deterring sea lions from resting on vessels using approved methods
  • Compliance with Newport Beach Municipal Code Section 17


Enforcement of the City's Municipal Code and harbor services such as moorings, guest slips, anchorage, vacant rental assignments, live aboards and more is handled by the City's Harbor Department located at Marina Park, 1600 W. Balboa Boulevard, Newport Beach, 92663. Staff can be reached seven days per week between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. by calling 949-270-8159 or using Channel 17.

For after hours non-emergency assistance, please call 949-644-3611.

Law enforcement services and emergency services are provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol Division by calling 949-723-1002 or using Channel 12.

Stand-Up Paddleboards

Stand-Up Paddleboards (SUP) are considered vessels when operated in Newport Harbor and are subject to certain boating safety regulations, as governed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the California Harbors and Navigation Codes.

All users of a SUP are required to follow the below rules.

  • Required to carry:
    • Personal flotation devices (Children 12 and under are required to wear the flotation device);
    • Sound producing device (whistle); and
    • Navigation lights (a flashlight).
  • Report any accident or injury.

In Newport Harbor, the Orange County Sheriff Department is responsible for enforcement of the above rules and regulations regarding Paddleboarding and failure to comply could result in a citation of up to $1,000.

Environmental Regulations

As boat owners and operators, you are true stewards of this important resource. The City appreciates your commitment to keeping the Harbor free of trash and to maintaining our water quality standards. 

Sewage and Grey Water Control

  • No discharge means no discharge. Nothing but clean tap water can be released into Newport Harbor. It is illegal to discharge waste, including grey water, into the harbor and up to three miles off the coast.
  • Ensure your marine sanitation device is connected to a holding tank and secured with a zip tie or other device to prevent sewage discharge. 
  • There are 10 public pump-out stations around the harbor and paid services that will come to you. 
  • Use high-quality PVC hoses to prevent leakage, rubber hoses tend to deteriorate and retain odors.
  • Plan ahead and use shore-side facilities before you depart.
  • Do not discharge grey water as all soaps, even biodegradable soaps, are harmful to marine life and our water resources.
  • Keep absorbent pads in your bilge tank.
  • Use an oil-sensitive bilge pump that shuts off before accidental oil discharge.
  • See Newport Beach Municipal Code Section 17.45-Sanitation for regulations.

Cleaning Your Boat

State and Federal law require the City to reduce or eliminate water quality impairments like toxins sometimes found in cleaning supplies. No discharge means nothing but clean water may legally enter the harbor.

  • Topside, use a lot of elbow grease and water. Do not use any cleaners, even biodegradable, if the product will enter the water. 
  • Use phosphate-free and chlorine-free cleaners (be sure to check the ingredient labels) for uses that you know will not enter the water.
  • Use a vacuum sander so particles are not discharged into the harbor.
  • Use tarps to collect paint, varnish and related spills.
  • Do not use paints with cooper or toxic biocides.
  • Keep absorbent pads nearby when you work. If you spill, stop it immediately.
  • Clean hull frequently with a soft sponge and water to minimize marine growth.
  • Save the removal of heavy marine growth for the boatyard.
  • Limit all in-water maintenance to no-discharge activities.
  • Hire maintenance companies who follow these procedures so you are not fined.

Fueling Your Boat

Did you know that one pint of oil or gas can cover an acre of water surface, killing sensitive marine life and food sources? 

  • Always have a working fire extinguisher ready.
  • Don't smoke, have a cooking flame lit or cause any sparks when fueling a boat.
  • Turn off electronics and blower.
  • Tie your boat securely fore and aft.
  • Fill carefully and do not top off the tank. Listen to or keep your hand near the air vent. The flow of air increases when the tank is nearly full. Leave approximately five percent empty for tank expansion.
  • Always fuel portable tanks onshore. Avoid in-water fueling and always use approved tanks.
  • Keep absorbent pads nearby when as you fuel up. If you spill, stop it immediately.
  • Before starting your engine, secure gas cap and open hatches. Make sure to ventilate for five minutes, smell bilges for gas and check for leaks.

Engine Maintenance

Maintaining an outboard or inboard engine can pose problems for water quality because of the materials involved - cleaners, oils, transmission fluid and antifreeze. 

  • Keep your engine well tunes and routinely check for engine fuel leaks.
  • Avoid pumping any bilge water that has an oily sheen. Use absorbent pads that capture and digest oil and dispose of or recycle the material.
  • Do not use detergents and emulsifiers on fuel spills. It helps the oil settle into the bottom sediment.

Fish Waste

Decomposing fish waste in the water robs the water of oxygen, making it difficult for marine life and organisms to breathe. Below are some best practices for boaters.

  • Clean fish offshore where the fish are caught. Otherwise, clean fish at a designated fish cleaning station where fish waste can be properly disposed of or composted.
  • Practice catch-and-release or tag-and-release fishing, which does not kill the fish and produces no fish waste.

Trash Disposal

Garbage in the water not only looks bad it can cause problems for both wildlife and boaters. Boat's intake valves, propellers and other moving parts can become clogged by trash, fishing line and other debris. It is illegal to discard any garbage into the water from a vessel.

  • Bring your bottles, cans, garbage and all plastic items back to shore for proper disposal and recycling.
  • Make sure trash is deposited in the properly designated shore-side containers.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste properly.





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