Georgia Caves, Defangs Draconian Anchoring Law (Video)
Thanks to a coalition of boating groups, the Georgia legislature this week sent a bill to the governor that restores anchoring rights to cruisers passing through Georgia waters. The effort was spearheaded by the American Great Loop Cruisers Association, BoatUS, the Seven Seas Cruising Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and a group called Save Georgia's Anchorages, under the cheerful guidance of cruiser Ted Arisaka.
Our own minor contribution was to point out how easy it is for boaters to boycott Georgia (Avoid Getting Screwed by Georgia, Just Go Around)
Anyhoo, here's a summary of the legislation:
By KIM RUSSO
Executive Director, American Great Loop Cruisers Association
The Georgia State Senate just passed legislation that will undo the disastrous anchoring regulations that took effect in that state on January 1st of this year. HB 833, sponsored by Georgia Representative (and Gold Looper!), Ron Stephens, passed the Georgia House on March 12th, but didn’t make it to the Senate floor for a vote before the General Assembly adjourned for COVID-19 quarantine. The lawmakers have returned, and the bill passed the Senate this afternoon by a vote of 48 to 1.
(Read HB 833 as amended)
HB 833 takes back some of the widespread power the previous law afforded DNR to regulate anchoring. In short, HB 833 removes the ability to require permits for all overnight anchoring, removes the requirement to keep records of pump outs, and perhaps most importantly, removes the requirement that boats not anchor within 1,000 feet of water front structures and within 300 feet of marinas.
Instead, the new law changes those set-back distances to 150-feet from waterfront structures, 300-feet from marinas, and 500-feet from commercial shellfish beds for short-term anchoring, which is defined as anchoring in the same place for up to 14 cumulative nights per calendar year. Long term anchoring (over 14 days in the same place) will require a permit.
The bill now requires a signature from the governor, which is expected soon. Once signed, the new law takes effect immediately.
This is a big win for the boating community and a great example of what our membership can do with our collective advocacy efforts.