Visiting the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Often referred to as the Galapagos of North America, the Channel Islands are rich in wildlife and cultural resources, and are thus worthy of protection.

The Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects waters around the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara and Ventura.
A map of the marine protected areas around the Channel Islands.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS), which is a federal entity through the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service protects 1,470 square miles of ocean waters around the Northern Channel Islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara islands. The sanctuary boundary extends 6 nautical miles (nm) from the border of the five northern Channel Islands. This water overlaps with the Channel Islands National Park (which extends 1 nm from the mean high tide line) as well as with many state marine protected areas, including marine reserves which make up a network in California.

Our Sea cave kayaking tours explore the sanctuary waters.

In 1980, a portion of the Santa Barbara Channel was given a special protected status with the designation of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary is an area of national significance because of its exceptional natural beauty and resources.

A special place for endangered species, sensitive habitats, historic shipwrecks, and cultural resources, the sanctuary provides protection through research, education, conservation, and stewardship.

The sanctuary protects natural and cultural resources contained within its boundaries.

Our kayak and snorkel tours take you through Scorpion Marine Reserve on Santa Cruz Island, some of the most diverse, healthy, and beautiful waters in the world (and not just because we’re biased!).

Scorpion State Marine Reserve (SMR) and Federal Marine Reserve (FMR) on eastern Santa Cruz Island.

For those of you who are curious about what CINMS specifically protects, check out the federal regulations listed in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 15, Sections 922.71 through 922.74


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