People will be able to rent a boat on Big Bear Lake during the Memorial holiday weekend.

Restrictions on Big Bear marinas have been relaxed slightly going into the Memorial holiday weekend. On May 20, San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors clarified its COVID-19 orders regarding boat rentals. Mike Stephenson, general manager of the Big Bear Municipal Water District, read a statement he received from the county to the board. “Boat rentals as well as outdoor rentals including kayaks, canoes, paddleboards are allowed so long as the renters are to immediate household members only and physical distancing from other household members are practiced,” Stephenson read. “Technically, it’s in effect,” he said.

The move allows Big Bear marinas and boat rental shops the ability to open this weekend. As of the May 21 MWD board meeting, neither the state nor the county had relaxed any other rules or restrictions that could affect the operation of marinas and boating on Big Bear Lake. The Big Bear Lake City Council and the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors were scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. May 21.

Stephenson told the board that the MWD’s Phase I of operations will remain in place, limiting the East Boat Launch Ramp to 25 percent capacity or 25 vehicles. Physical distancing and face coverings rules also remain in place. Only one item in Phase I could be changed by the board, Stephenson said. There are currently no state or county limitations to the number of people on a boat. The regulation stipulates that people on the same boat must be from the same household.

When Phase I was first implemented in April, the MWD board limited the number of people per boat to a maximum of four from the same household. That was later expanded to a maximum of six people. Marina owners have requested the board to consider expanding the number higher.

Stephenson read a statement from Pine Knot Marina asking for the ability to screen families and allow for more than six if they are from the same family. Loren Hafen emailed during the meeting that said he supports a move to allow the number to meet the capacity of the boat.

“If any of these rules made it to court, they would fall completely apart,” said board member Bob Ludecke. “That’s stupid with a capital S. I think this stuff is silly.”

Hafen then asked the board to consider setting a maximum number of adults on the boat and to not count children.

Stephenson said that he would hate to make a hasty decision. So far, things have gone smoothly, he said. Keeping to a set number “you can defend it, you can enforce it,” he said. “I want us to comply with the government the best as I can.”

Ludecke said he is fed up with government. “I hate government,” he said. “I absolutely hate us. I just want to go back to Earth for just a minute.”

Ludecke made a motion to remove all restrictions on the number of people on a boat from the same household. The motion died for lack of a second. Board president Charlie Brewster followed with a motion to increase the maximum number to eight. That motion also died for lack of a second.

In the end, the board did not make any changes to Phase I restrictions, acknowledging that things could still change before the weekend that would allow the MWD to move forward into Phase II, which would increase parking lot capacity at the East Ramp to 50 percent. The maximum number of people allowed on boats in Big Bear Lake is six, and must be from the same household.

Check back daily at for updates as COVID-19 regulations are subject to change.

(1) comment


Has the lake been stocked lately if not put a good stock in to boost city everything everyone has been. Cooped up so long with a cool relaxing mountain lake loaded with trout and boat rentals it could make for epic come back for all

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