Please select your home edition
Edition
Marina Exchange 728x90 1

BoatUS calls on Georgia Governor to fix draconian anchoring law

by Scott Croft 8 Feb 14:17 PST
This simple act of anchoring, including some locations on the Federica River, is in question along the Georgia Coast. © Craig Rowdon

In a letter sent recently to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) urges the governor to reconsider regulations recently put in place restricting 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.

The national advocacy, services and safety group also asks recreational boaters to send a message now to the state of Georgia regarding the new prohibitive anchoring law.

With 16,000 BoatUS members in the state, BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Chris Edmonston says in the letter that the new rule effectively removes from public use a significant portion of the state's waters, representing a departure from the long-held public trust doctrine.

With little notice or engagement with boating stakeholder groups, the Georgia Legislature approved, and the governor signed, House Bill 201 in the 2019 session. This legislation directs the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop rules regarding the anchoring of vessels in estuarine areas of the state. Georgia DNR then proposed a rule that raised significant concerns with the boating community, including BoatUS and the grassroots group Save Georgia's Anchorages, which was created in response to the draconian law.

Said Edmonston, "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. There is no reasonable safety or waterway-management reason for taking such a significant swath of state waters from the boating public. Boating and fishing are the second largest outdoor recreational activity in Georgia, bringing in well over $500 million a year in economic activity. Eliminating scores of anchorages will put a severe damper on this very important economic driver to many coastal areas that gain from boater spending."

Edmonston notes 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 privately owned structures outside these zones was to provide waterfront landowners with near exclusive use and enjoyment of our shared waterways," said Edmonston.

BoatUS believes the final rule runs counter to the public trust doctrine as codified in Georgia Code § 52-1-2 (2015) which states: "The State of Georgia, as sovereign, is trustee of the rights of the people of the state to use and enjoy all tidewaters which are capable of use for fishing, passage, navigation, commerce, and transportation, pursuant to the common law public trust doctrine." BoatUS notes the anchoring of vessels is an integral part of navigation.

Related Articles

The best boat winterizing checklist
And everything else you ever wanted to know about putting away a recreational boat for the season Boaters in much of the U.S. and Canada acknowledge the need to winterize their boat's engines each autumn. But what else can go wrong? Posted on 17 Sep
Labor day boating safety tips
An increase in number of boaters on the water this three-day Labor Day holiday period For the nation's 12 million boat owners, Labor Day weekend is the last blast, with many enjoying the end-of-summer boating ritual with family and friends aboard, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Posted on 2 Sep
Gulf boaters prepare for Marco and Laura
Tropical Storm Marco, expected to run along the Louisiana coast tomorrow A one-two punch with two tropical storms bearing down on the Gulf Coast this week is getting the attention of recreational boaters, leading some to wisely haul out their vessels to a safe location and make storm preparations. Posted on 25 Aug
Lifecycle Solutions for Fiberglass Boats
Rhode Island Marine Trade Industry Association aims to grow boat recycling across the U.S. With the move to phase 2 of the Rhode Island Fiberglass Vessel Recycling (RIFVR) Pilot Program to address the disposal issue of recreational boats, project managers have released “Facing the Legacy: Lifecycle Solutions for Fiberglass Boats.” Posted on 12 Aug
Insurance guide from BoatUS
The most basic things new owners should know about buying a policy More first-time boat buyers are getting on the water this season than in summers past. Along with the boat, many new owners also find themselves shopping for boat insurance for the first time Posted on 6 Aug
East Coast Boaters need to prepare for Isaias
Free hurricane planning videos, guides from BoatUS Hurricane Isaias is forecast to run up the East Coast, likely bringing heavy rains, high winds and storm surge from South Florida to potentially as far north as New England through next week. Posted on 31 Jul
What can a boat's name tell you?
BoatUS issues annual Top 10 Boat Names list While a boat's name can be as varied as the owner at the helm, certain themes do stick out, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Posted on 27 Jul
EPA isn't making it easier to choose right fuel
Only 22% of consumers know that regular 88 fuel has more engine-harming ethanol than 87 octane fuel With summer boating season in full swing, it's now common to see recreational boats being filled up at gas stations across the country. Posted on 15 Jul
As weather wreaks havoc, check insurance policy
Boaters need to look at the biggest boat insurance risk According to NOAA, the 12-month-period ending in April 2019 was the wettest in U.S. records dating back to 1895. As extreme weather events become more common, few are more affected than recreational boaters who store their vessels on the water at a marina Posted on 8 Jul
TowBoatUS Beaufort, N.C., removes tons of debris
Partnership with N.C. Coastal Reserve, Town of Beaufort, N.C. The Town of Beaufort and the adjacent Rachel Carson Reserve knew they had a problem with abandoned vessels. For years, a pristine set of barrier islands had become an illegal dumping ground for old boats, tires and other debris. Posted on 7 Jul
Maritimo 2019 FooterHighfield Boats - Power - FOOTERMarina Exchange FOOTER 1