Tidepool Etiquette

We encourage visitors to familiarize themselves with the following guidelines to preserve the marine reserve for the enjoyment of the whole community.

  • Watch your step! Walk carefully around the tidepools for your own safety and to spare the marine life underfoot. Avoid stepping on beds of barnacles, anenmones, mussels, and other tidepool life.
  • Do not remove shells, vegetation, rocks or marine life. Shells and rocks are a natural part of the intertidal zone, and serve as future homes for critters such as hermit crabs.
  • Please observe marine life by looking only. Please do not touch or handle marine life.
  • Do not pull sea stars, mussels, limpets, and other tidepool life off rocks. Gulls will flip them over and tear out thier stomachs or soft bodies before the animals have a chance to re-grip.
  • Do not place marine life in containers for a closer look, even for a few minutes.  This is often how animals are inadvertently moved from one inter-tidal zone to another, and they usually don't survive.
  • Do not bring your dogs or other pets to the tidepools. In Fitzgerald Marine reserve dogs are allowed on the Coastal Trail only. (Find other dog-friendly trails.)
  • Do not play loud radios or amplified music near or around the tidepools.
  • Do not disturb marine mammals, such as harbor seals in their rookery.  Many seek this habitat as a refuge for birthing and raising their young. Stay at least 300 feet from any marine mammal.

Fishing Regulations

New fishing regulations went into effect at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on May 1, 2010.

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve falls within the Montara State Marine Reserve:

North boundary: 37° 32.7'N (Montara State Beach)
South boundary: 37° 30'N
West boundary: state waters line
East boundary: mean high tide line.

The take of all living marine resources is prohibited. No fishing is allowed within the Reserve. The take of shells, rocks, and drift wood is also prohibited. The new Marine Protected Areas have been designed to protect and sustain marine life, habitats, and ecosystems. Reserves provide an opportunity to learn from and enjoy intact ecosystems. New protection for ecological hot spots like Fitzgerald Marine Reserve will be a boon for the marine food web, foraging seabirds, and marine mammals.

Other Regulations

  • Picking or removing wildflowers or other natural material is prohibited.
  • No fires or BBQs are allowed.
  • Cutting and gathering of wood is prohibited.
  • Dogs and other pets are not allowed.
  • Motor vehicles and bicycles are permitted only on paved roadways and in established parking areas.
  • Firearms and other weapons are prohibited.
  • Loud radios and the playing of amplified musical instruments are not permited.
  • Beer and wine only are allowed in certain areas, no hard liquor.
  • Smoking is NOT permitted.
  • Feeding of wildlife is prohibited.
  • Leaving designated trails is prohibited
  • Hunting is not permitted per California State Fish and Game Regulations.
  • Buckets or any kind of container may not be used to collect any marine life form in the Reserve.
  • No part of any protected marine plant or animal may be removed from the Reserve, including shells.
  • Rocks of drift seaweeds may not be removed from the Reserve.
  • Weddings are not permitted.
  • The operation of drones or other self-propelled model vehicles (remote control airplanes, automobiles, boats, etc.) is prohibited.