The latest in the controversy over proposed anchoring restrictions in Georgia comes from the American Great Loop Cruisers Association:
If you’ve been following along with the rulemaking process to implement Georgia’s new anchoring law (HB 201) , which gives the Georgia Department of Natural Resources the authority to both require a permit for overnight anchoring and to determine where boats can and can’t anchor, we have an important update for you.
As of mid-September, DNR reports that it is still examining the possibility of requiring anchoring permits, but has no immediate plans for implementation. This is a change from the previously announced intention to require permits beginning next year.
In May, DNR issued a proposed rulemaking, which quickly caught the attention of boaters who were outraged by the idea of having to purchase a permit in order to anchor overnight in waterways in Georgia. After a public comment period with a high level of engagement from boaters, stakeholders including our coalition were invited to a meeting at DNR in July to further discuss ideas for implementation. At that meeting, DNR planned to go back to the drawing board and release a new set of permitting rules around October.
However, that plan has been abandoned for now, according to Doug Haymans, director of the DNR Coastal Resources Division. DNR currently has no immediate plan to move forward with the permitting process. DNR is, however, moving forward with defining anchorage areas. The approved anchorage areas are expected be the whole state, minus shellfish beds and some setback from marine infrastructure. The setback distances for these anchoring exclusionary areas is still to be determined after additional input from marinas and other stakeholders.
While our group will remain vigilant as the rest of the rules pertaining to anchorage areas unfold, we view the current status as positive. The abandonment of permitting rules for the time being shows that the voices of boaters are behind heard. Many thanks to all of you who have taken part in this process to date.