We need your help to send a message to the state of Georgia regarding a new anchoring regulation that places a significant restriction on your freedom to enjoy the state’s waters. Under a new rule, boats cannot anchor overnight within 1,000 feet of any shore side structure. This rule eliminates a vast portion of Georgia’s coastal waters from a traditional use, effectively taking this shared resource away from many boaters. Please email the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) requesting they repeal this onerous rule and work with the boating community to come up with commonsense anchoring regulations.
This new rule was created in response to legislation, Georgia House Bill 201, passed early last year with little notice or engagement of the boating community. This legislation directed DNR to establish anchoring regulations, establish anchorage areas and prohibited overnight anchoring of boats outside of these designated anchorages. DNR did engage in a public process to develop these rules and then finalized them on December 30th of 2019. (You can see BoatU.S. comments here.)
Specifically, the rule restricts overnight anchoring within 1,000 feet of any structure, such as public and private docks, wharves, bridges, piers and pilings, except in areas near marinas. This 1,000-foot offset needlessly eliminates anchorages all over the state. It will affect numerous boaters, many of whom transit Georgia waters as part of the annual migration along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) that brings in millions of dollars to Georgia businesses. There is no reasonable safety or waterway-management reason for taking such a significant swath of state waters from the boating public.
Curiously, DNR did create so-called “Marina Zones” that allow boaters to anchor as close as 300 feet to marinas or facilities that provide fuel, dinghy access, provisions, vessel maintenance or other services, regardless of whether other structures exist nearby. This can only lead to the conclusion that the reason for the greater offset from private structures outside these zones was to provide waterfront landowners with near exclusive use and enjoyment of our shared waterways
BoatU.S. recognizes the need for states to manage their waterways and supports reasonable regulations that protect the public’s access. We also firmly believe the ability to anchor overnight is an important part of how many boater choose to enjoy the water. Please send a message today asking to repeal this rule. Take Action.
Contact BoatU.S. Government Affairs at [email protected] if you have additional questions.