Essentials for Catalina Island Boating

Catalina Island BoatingCatalina Island boating is a favorite pastime in both the Avalon area and in Two Harbors. Weather is an important part of boating, and so monitoring the weather and the ocean movement is essential to stay safe. Many of the Channel Islands are close to the mainland. In fact, Catalina Island is just 22 miles from the Long Beach Harbor. Catalina Island boaters are also cautioned to look out for fog and northeasters, which change swell-direction in a hurry.


When traveling by boat in Avalon, your first stop will be moorings. These floating metal balls are attached to weights on the bottom which replaces the need for anchoring your vessel. These moorings are organized in a parking lot style and are very well managed. You are assigned moorings on a first-come, first served basis upon reaching the harbor entrance.

There are literally hundreds of moorings in Avalon Harbor and more in Descanso and Hamilton coves. These are managed and overseen by the Avalon Harbor Department. The Avalon Marine Dock located here is part of the California Division of Boating and Waterways.

Catalina Island boating…fun and sun await you

Catalina Island BoatsIf you want to move beyond Avalon, there are many agencies to help you with the move. There are 17 other coves with moorings. The Descanso Bay just west of Avalon around Casino Point has an additional 47 moorings as well as three dinghy docks. Hamilton Cove has 36 moorings and a view of the many beautiful condominiums.

There are 242 moorings and anchorage for more than 100 boats in Isthmus Cove, Little Fisherman’s Cove, or Big Fisherman’s Cove. There are also Catalina Island boating services offered in the summer and dinghy floats offered on the Isthmus Pier, which assists passengers getting off and on.

For a comprehensive listing of moorings in and around Catalina Island, see the Sailors Choice website. Here you will find all sorts of options available with up to date contact information. It shows pricing for both Avalon and Two Harbors as well as detailed descriptions of all the other mooring possibilities.

Boating Options

Catalina Island BoatingOne of the great things about Catalina Island boating is that on the leeward side there are numerous coves to explore. Isthmus Cove at Two Harbors is one of the more popular destinations. Calm waters prevail in this area and allow for nice boating conditions most all the time. You don’t necessarily need to be moored or anchored to have a fun time. Simply trolling along at your own pace is always a great getaway.

East of Avalon is where you can find Lovers Cove, where there is no anchorage or mooring allowed. Instead visitors can kick back and relax, swim, snorkel or cruise in a small boat. This is some of the best snorkeling anywhere because of the rocky terrain around the cove area.

Boat-In Camping is great way to enjoy the island. These are very secluded campsites and are accessible only by boat or kayak. You will need to pack all of your own supplies and gear for the trip. The campsites are checked by a ranger daily. There are nine of these locations around Catalina Island with a total of 17 sites. To make reservations and for more information, check out the Catalina Island Company.

Remember when boating on Catalina Island to use proper VHF equipment, check the weather, plan your route, and pay close attention to your surroundings. Most moorings in the Catalina Island are privately owned or leased. Come enjoy a full day on the water with your boat. Relax and enjoy the oceanic views!