Boating at Millerton Lake

Boating is amongst the most popular activities for visitors to Millerton Lake. From the Friant dam, the lake extends 15 miles upriver. The San Joaquin River canyon is characterized by its steep hill sides and views of the flat table mountains. Summers on the main body of the lake are bustling with personal watercrafts, wakeboarders, water-skiers, and boats for leisure. The river channel is frequented by fisherman seeking their winning catch at the confluence of Finegold Creek and beyond.

Boat Launch Facilities

The lake has six boat launch facilities on the main body of the lake. Ramps 1 and 6 are operational at all water levels. Ramps 2-5 will change based on water levels and will offer multiple docks and can accommodate more boaters. Refer to map below for boat ramp orientation. Ramp 6 is located on the North Shore (Madera County side) by Meadows campground loop.

An accessible canoe and kayak boat ramp is located adjacent to the restrooms at South Finegold Day-Use Area. The ramp is only operational at high water levels.

Floating restrooms are available on the lake. Please refer to the Park Infosheet for information on their location. The restroom offshore from Ramp 1 is wheelchair accessible. The floating restroom located in Winchell Cove offers a pump station.

California Boater Card

The card is issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). Once DBW has received your application, proof of education and payment, you will receive a 90-day temporary boater card by email. You should receive your official boater card by mail within 30 days from the time the application was approved. The California Boater Card shows that its holder has successfully taken an approved boating safety course and passed the corresponding exam.

For more information on how to get your California Boater Card visit

General Boating Rules

No person under 16 years of age may operate a boat with a motor of more than 15 horsepower, except for a sailboat that does not exceed 30 feet in length. Must be 16 years of age or older to operate a personal watercraft (jet-ski) Vessels must have current and valid registration and Mussel Fee stickers.

Observe all speed and hazard buoys.

Water levels fluctuate frequently. Beware of hazards and shallow water. Operate safely and slowly in shallow water.

No boats in swimming areas. Maximum speed 5 MPH within 200 feet of shorelines frequented by bathers.

Boat or personal watercraft (Jet-ski) must completely pass the 5mph buoy line before coming up to speed and must be slowed at the 5mph line on return.

Do not ride on bow, stern, transom, or gunwale while the vessel is underway.

No towing in the river channel east of Finegold Bay; maximum speed 35 MPH. No towing in buoyed 5 MPH areas. Mooring prohibited at courtesy docks.

No Boating Zones: 600 feet from Friant Dam and South Bay (area around Rattlesnake Island).

For a complete list of boating regulations and guidelines please refer to ABCs of California Boating.


Children 12 years or younger must wear a life jacket while on a vessel.

Everyone on board a personal watercraft (popularly known as “jet skis”) and anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Life jackets are available for loan during the summer season at the La Playa swim beach and at the North Shore kiosk loan station.

Boating Requirements

  • A whistle or other sound producing devices.
  • Lifejackets for all passengers
  • Type IV (four) throwable for boats over 16ft.
  • USCG approved fire extinguisher.

Non-Powered Vessels: Canoe, Kayak, Standup Paddle Boards (SUPs)

  • SUPs are considered vessels and must have a personal floatation device. Leashes are recommended and are your best connection to your floatation.
  • SUPs are not recommended in high-speed, open water during high vessel traffic.

Two-Stroke Engine Restrictions As of May 12, 2013, vessels equipped with non-conformant two-stroke engines will not be allowed to operate on the waters of Millerton Lake State Recreation Area.

The following California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant labeling must be present on your two-stroke motor in order to be allowed to launch and operate your vessel at Millerton Lake: Only vessels with non-conformant two-stroke engines will be prohibited. All vessels model year 2001 and newer, sold in California, were required to be sold with CARB compliant engines. Many vessels sold prior to 2001, such as inboard/outboard powered vessels, are four-stroke and are not affected by this restriction. Dreissenid (Zebra/Quagga) Mussel Inspection Program Vessels must have current quagga mussel stickers.

Vessel owners are required to complete a self-inspection of their vessel and/or vessel trailer prior to launching in Millerton Lake. Inspection sheets can be found at both South Shore and North Shore entrance kiosks.

Vessels and/or vessel trailers that have been identified as having Dreissenid mussels or potentially having Dreissenid mussels will refrain from launching or must be removed from the waters of Millerton Lake SRA immediately.

Millerton Marina

All rentals are managed by the Millerton Marina and Millerton Lake Rentals. Verify your rental information as to where rentals are to be picked up. Please contact the Marina with your questions regarding rentals.
Marina Contact Information
Phone: (866) 899-3625
Address: 19305 Winchell Cove Road Friant, CA 93626
For vessel towing call: (559) 291-2682
Millerton Lake Rentals: