Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where to Launch Kayaks

What follows is a compilation of the responses that Steve obtained from his question about launching kayaks.

I recently asked the list a couple questions concerning places to launch a kayak from in/around La Jolla ……. Below are summaries of the responses. Some responses were posted to the list, but are repeated below for completeness.Thanks for all your input.Steve

I have been launching off Marine Street beach for a decade. A bit dicey sometimes because of the shore break, but doable.
And Wind and Sea isn't much of a problem, either. Just shore breaks.
San Diego Municipal Code § 63.20.9 limits the launching of all boats (except for non-motorized inflatables) from beach areas within the city limits. Avenida de la Playa is the only designated public launch area on any beach directly adjacent to the Pacific.
I've launched kayaks from the area north of Scripps Pier before withoutany trouble. The waves can be a bit bigger up there, though :)
Q: So where do all those wave skis @ Mission Beach get launched from?A: Mission Bay is not a "beach immediately adjacent to the Pacific." Not only does Mission Bay have a number of actual launch ramps, but there are different rules on launching from the beach.For more information on boating regulations in San Diego, start at: http://www.sandiego.gov/lifeguards/safety/boatreg.shtml
Not only can you launch from the boat ramp at LJS, but you may also launch and land your kayak in the surfing zone just north of the lifeguard tower. I know this to be true because I actually asked a lifeguard about it. Now, during the summer at 11:00 am the lifeguards move the surfing zone (north of the checkered flag) north about 100 yards to give the swimmers more room. The surf is usually bigger the further north you go and so coming back in can be tricky. Both because of the size of the surf (more likely to get spilled) and the number of surfers.
I often launch from just north of the lifeguard tower because I think it is easier to launch my kayak and not have to move my car from the boat launch. And then when I land I can just bring my kayak right back to my car in the parking lot. Sometimes, if the surf comes up, or I don't make it back before 11:00 am I will land down at the boat launch and walk my kayak up to the parking lot in knee deep water. The lifeguards have never said anything to me about doing this. But you do have to watch out for little kids playing in the ankle slappers.
It's not LJ, and it's not open in the summer, but there is a boat launch area in south Encinitas near Restaurant Row, and I have launched my kayak at Pillbox - sorry, I mean Fletcher Cove, in Solana Beach before also.
Honestly I don't know the 'rules' but the only thing lifeguards seem to care about when I talk to them is that I go out through surfers and not swimmers. A sit on top kayak in many ways is close to being a surfboard, and in fact sometimes that is what I do with it! So far I have gone out OB on the Dog Beach side, Marine St. and Mission Bay. The main thing I think is that there aren't people (swimmers) being endangered in any way – that’s what the lifeguards care about from what I can tell. I can also tell you, being a spear fisherman, that TONS of spearos go out Marine St. beach with kayaks and inflatables (no motor). It is possible that the letter of the law would make it illegal to go out these other beaches but that seems pretty draconian to me, especially since I could claim that a sit on top kayak was also a surfboard. Heck if they gave me a hard time that’s what I would do anyway - buy a longboard, strap some gear to it and paddle out to the kelp to get some food. Let me know if you find any hard 'rules' on this one!

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