Things to Do

photo of a pacific whilte sided dolphin
Pacific White Sided Dolphin

Wildlife Watching

Commercial trips to Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary are not offered regularly.


Recreational fishing at Cordell Bank is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, a state agency, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (also called "NOAA Fisheries"), a federal agency. Recreational fishing within Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary is closed for most groundfish species. Please refer to current state and federal regulations for up to date information.

Diving Not Recommended

No Diving signRecreational diving is not recommended at Cordell Bank for a number of reasons. The upper reef areas on Cordell Bank are between 115 and 140 feet and Cordell Bank typically has strong currents that are extremely variable and can run in opposite directions at different depths.

Sea conditions 20 miles from shore can change rapidly, even on days that start calmly. Fog and wind can develop quickly making dive conditions treacherous. Visibility is variable from good to green and ocean temperatures usually hover around 50 degrees farenheit.

In order to protect the fragile reef community, anchoring is prohibited in areas shallower than 300 feet. A sanctuary permit can be issued for research or education purposes.

Wildlife Watching Resources

Marine Mammals
of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

of Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Ocean Etiquette

Reading List for Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones Region (112 kb PDF)
Download a reading list that includes books, articles, websites to learn more about the diverse natural history of the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones Region

Species List for trips to Cordell Bank NMS (includes species typically seen close to shore in transit) (72 kb PDF)