Avoid Getting Screwed by Georgia, Just Go Around It (Video)
By PETER SWANSON
Bless their hearts, Georgia officials have instituted restrictions on anchoring and turned the state’s coastal waters into one big no-discharge zone, which means that even boats with Coast Guard approved treatment systems cannot legally pump overboard. The restrictions went into effect in January. (Watch as Kim Russo, executive director of the American Great Loop Cruisers Association, explains the issues in the video below.)
The nice thing about the state in question is that the place is completely avoidable. Were it not for New Hampshire, Georgia would be the most easily avoidable state on the East Coast.
From the Savannah River to the Florida State line is about 135 statute miles of twists, turns and switchbacks on the Intracoastal Waterway. Go outside into the Atlantic Ocean, however, and you will find the straight line to the entrance of the St. Mary’s River is just under 100. You will be welcomed by the city of Fernandina Beach, where the newly rebuilt municipal marina is welcoming transients. Or you can drop the hook at the nearby anchorage and dinghy in to enjoy restaurants, nightlife and shopping.
Yes, parts of the Georgia ICW are very pretty, but so is the Florida stretch from Fernandina Beach to St. Augustine, and no one is going to prevent you from anchoring outside the marked channel. Again, just as pretty, no hassles.
So, if you think you might want to cruise the East Coast or do the Great Loop, consider a vessel that is capable of an overnight passage in calm conditions or one fast enough to bypass Georgia in daylight. “Georgia on my mind?” Naw, but bless your hearts anyway.