New cruising restrictions in Georgia (USA)

Daria Blackwell
Daria Blackwell
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Via Great Loop Cruising Association and SSCA:

The State of Georgia has passed a bill that restricts anchoring and adds some requirements for boaters regarding their marine sanitation systems.

It appears this will mean some new requirements for cruisers, such as keeping logs of pumps outs in Georgia and securing the black water discharge valves, similar to what is currently required in the Great Lakes and Canada. It will also restrict where you can anchor and require you to obtain a permit in order to anchor overnight. Please read below or view the attached bill for more specifics.

At this point in the process, Georgia DNR has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to start the process of implementing this new law. Details can be found here. They are suggesting a nominal fee for anchoring permits, with permits obtained in a number of ways including online. No information is included on what areas will be designated as anchoring areas, other than a notice that those areas will be posted on the DNR website.

This is the most restrictive anchoring law I've seen pass. Thankfully, for those cruising on the inside, the AICW through Georgia is less than 150 miles. SSCA will participate in the process for the notice of proposed rulemaking as DNR works on implementation. We will let members know what assistance is needed as we continue analyzing the new law and it's proposed implementation. In the meantime, if anyone has followed the evolution of this bill or has any additional information, please contact me.

The highlights of the bill are:

-The Board of Natural Resources is authorized to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations relating to
overnight or long-term anchoring within the estuarine areas of this state to include the establishment of an anchorage permit.

-The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to establish anchorage areas within the estuarine areas of this state as well as areas where anchoring is not allowed.

-It shall be unlawful for any person to dock or anchor at night any vessel within the estuarine areas of this state unless it is in an anchorage area established by the department and in compliance with all rules and regulations adopted by the board pursuant to this Code section or at an eligible facility. Nothing in this Code section shall prohibit short-term anchoring for fishing or similar activities, nor shall it prohibit the owner of a vessel from docking at a private recreational dock or noneligible facility so long as such vessel is not utilized as a live-aboard vessel.

-It shall be unlawful to operate or float any live-aboard vessel within the estuarine areas of this state, whether anchored in an anchorage area or at an eligible facility, which has located within or on such vessel a Type I, Type II, or Type III Marine Sanitation Device, as defined in 33 C.F.R. 159, unless such device has a secured mechanism which is constructed and installed in such a manner that it can be emptied only by pumping out to prevent discharge of treated and untreated sewage or is equipped with a holding tank, as such term is defined in Code Section 52-7-3. Examples of secured mechanisms considered to be effective at preventing discharges include, but are not limited to, closing the seacock and padlocking, using a non-releasable wire tie, or removing the seacock handle with the seacock in the closed position.

-Persons operating or floating live-aboard vessels with marine toilets and subject to the requirements of this Code section shall create and maintain for at least one year after creation records which indicate the name and location of pump-out facilities used and the dates of such use. Persons who own or operate pump-out facilities shall also create a record and maintain, for at least one year after creation, records which indicate the name and vessel registration number, the date of pump-out, and verification of pump-out for each vessel for which pump-out services are performed.

Vice Commodore, OCC 

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