UPDATE: Latest Georgia Anchoring Regs: Coast Marshland Protection Act
Our thanks to Roger Long for sending these latest updates on the restrictive anchoring regulations in Georgia.
1/5/20 The official DNR map has been posted. All of Brickhill Creek is excluded due to leased oyster areas not shown on the map I was working from in my earlier comments. There is now no well protected legal anchorage for visiting the northern part of Cumberland Island.
The southern part of the island is all shown as open. The DNR may be recognizing National Park Service control of those waters. However, other areas on the southern portion of the map are not excluded which would be if the same standards were used as farther north. I suspect the map is simply incomplete at this point and we will gradually see it filled in.
Click here for Coastal Anchoring & Discharge
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
BRIAN KEMP GOVERNOR
MARK WILLIAMS COMMISSIONER
BY THE COMMISSIONER
WHEREAS: The General Assembly declared though the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act,
O.C.G.A. 12-5-280 et seq. that the coastal marshlands of Georgia comprise a vital natural resource system and that the coastal marshlands provide a natural recreation resource which has become vitally linked to the economy of Georgia’s coastal zone and to that of the entire state. It further stated that coastal marshlands are costly, if not impossible, to reconstruct or rehabilitate once adversely impacted by man’s activities and that activities in the coastal marshlands must be regulated to ensure the values and functions of coastal marshlands are not impaired; and
WHEREAS: O.C.G.A. 52-7-3 (25) defines vessel as every description of watercraft, other than a
seaplane on the water or a sailboard, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water and specifically includes, but is not limited to, inflatable rafts and homemade vessels; and
WHEREAS: O.C.G.A. 52-7-8.4(b)(1) defines anchorage areas as those areas established by the
department within estuarine areas whereby a vessel may anchor at night; and
WHEREAS; O.C.G.A. 12-5-282 (7) and 52-7-8.4(b)(3) define estuarine areas as all tidally
influenced waters, marshes, and marshlands lying within a tide-elevation range from 5.6 feet above mean tide level and below; and
WHEREAS: O.C.G.A. 52–7-8.4(b)(5) defines night as between the hours of 30 minutes after
sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise; and
WHEREAS: O.C.G.A. 52–7-8.4(d) authorizes the Department to establish anchorage areas within
the estuarine areas of this state as well as areas where anchoring is not allowed.
NOW THEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the Commissioner hereby ORDERS that anchorage areas for the purpose of overnight anchoring are established throughout all the estuarine areas of the state EXCEPT FOR THE FOLLOWING estuarine areas that are specifically excluded as anchorage areas:
1) Within any marked navigational channel; and 2) Within 1,000 feet of any Department approved marked shellfish lease area or
public shellfish picking area; and 3) Within 1,000 feet of any structure, such as wharfs, docks, piers, pilings, bridge
structures or abutments, except for areas within Marina Zones. A Marina Zone shall be delineated as the area between 300 feet and 1,000 feet of a marina or facility providing fuel, dinghy access, provisions, vessel maintenance or other
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boating services, regardless of whether other structures exist within the marina zone. Overnight anchoring is allowed within Marina Zones.
FURTHERMORE, the anchorage areas established by this Administrative Order shall not be considered “designated anchorages” for the purposes of O.C.G.A, Section 52-7-11(d). 32-point white stern lights are required to be displayed during hours of darkness or low visibility when anchored in anchorage areas established by this Administrative Order.
FURTHERMORE, it is the sole responsibility of the vessel operator to determine a safe anchorage area for their vessel depending on current environmental factors and the Department has no responsibility in this part.
FURTHERMORE, this ORDER does not authorize the placement or installation of mooring balls within the estuarine area of the state.
This 30% day of December 2019.
MARK WILLIAMS COMMISSIONER OF NATURAL RESOURCES