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    • Georgia Legislator Responds to Anchoring Restrictions

      Since the release of GA DNR maps displaying restricted areas of anchorage, James H. Newsome and Ted Arisaka have pursued clarification on the implementation of the broad restrictions. Cruisers Net applauds James and Ted for their efforts on behalf of boaters’ rights. Well done gentlemen!
       
      Georgia Rep Ron Stephens contacted James H. Newsome (as a representation of the boating coalition group) this afternoon and stated that he and the Commissioner have talked about our concerns with the maps showing the overbearing shellfish lease areas, and that DNR will make an internal rule change to address the problems we have pointed out. 
      DNR and Rep. Stephens will introduce legislative changes in the next session of the General Assembly to permanently correct the problem. 
      No timeline was given on how long the rule change  will take. James asked if the map could be removed while we await the revised rules. Rep. Stephens contacted the Commissioner and was told that the map must stay up for now, but there will be no enforcement of anchoring violations in these areas. We assume this to mean  other than the setbacks as defined in HB833 (150′ private docks, 300′ commercial marinas, & 500′ shellfish harvesting areas). 
      While this is welcome relief for boaters and cruisers, and we are hopeful for a quick rule change and resolution to this problem, we must also caution boaters that they should obey the directive of any local DNR Law Enforcement officer if approached while anchoring in one of these areas as defined by the map on DNR’s website. 
      We have seen instances in the past where information about recent directives has not trickled down to the local level. If necessary, read this information to the officer, but follow his/her instructions. And then please contact Ted Arisaka, Kim Russo, or James H. Newsome afterwards. We will forward your information to our contacts at Georgia DNR.

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      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. James H Newsome -  October 17, 2020 - 6:55 am

        Thanks much Larry for your support. I tried to be careful about the wording of my statement. The last thing I want to do is tell boaters that they should knowingly break the boating law pertaining to anchoring. However, based on my conversation with Rep Stephens, who was speaking with the DNR Commissioner Mark Williams, I was told that DNR has no intentions of enforcing anchoring restrictions in the newly announced commercial shellfish leased areas at this time.

        I intend to anchor as usual, avoid anchoring near private docks and marinas, and avoid anchoring near any marked recreational and commercial shellfish areas. The legal setbacks from these areas are: 150' private docks, 300' marinas, and 500' shellfish beds. If I am approached by a GA DNR law enforcement officer, I will politely comply with their directive whether I believe they are right or wrong.

        GA has very few DNR law enforcement officers working the coastal area. They do not have time, nor the inclination to harass boaters. We have been told repeatedly that enforcement is complaint driven. For example, if a marina or private landowner calls DNR and complains about a boat they believe is anchored to close to their dock, then a DNR enforcement officer will be dispatched. He/she will evaluate the situation and instruct the boater and homeowner appropriately. If there is a violation, the boater will be warned and asked to move. Take a screen shot of your GPS position for reference.

        Use common sense, be courteous, and enjoy our beautiful coastal waters. Hopefully someday GA will get the public relations effort right.

        Reply to James
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