Further to recent updates on the decree regulating yacht anchorage and stopping in French waters, the European Committee for Professional Yachting (ECPY) has provided a full translation of the text into English, available here: Prefectoral Decree No. 123/2019
This decree heralds a major turning point in France's policy on the economics of yachting and boating in the Mediterranean. Following the 'framework'” decree, the French maritime authorities will be able to regulate a priori, and broadly, the anchoring of ships under the following conditions:
Limitation of time at anchorage
Prohibition of anchoring in areas where there is a risk of damage to protected habitats (in particular Posidonia meadows), or to categories of vessels likely to cause damage
Obligation for some ships to make prior declarations of their intention to anchor
Obligation to maintain AIS and VHF watch continuously
This is not applicable to vessels moored on buoys, in dynamic positioning or organized anchorage.
The core of the "Posidonia" decree is constituted by its article n°6:
"Ship anchoring shall not compromise conservation or lead to the destruction, alteration or degradation of habitats of endangered marine plant species. It is therefore forbidden to anchor in an area corresponding to a habitat of protected marine plant species when this action is likely to affect it."
Decree n°123/2019 is a framework decree; therefore it is not applicable without having been precisely defined, and has no regulatory impact for the 2019 season.
The maritime authority has announced that, for each French department, a specific decree will apply these rules, to be issued after consultation, department by department (Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Corse,...) by the 2020 season.
ECPY has already been selected to participate in the preparatory meetings of these decrees, and will prepare the proposals of the profession with a set of other associations, in particular yachting and boating associations. ECPY will be particularly vigilant from an ecological, technical and legal point of view, to understand on what formal bases yachts (vessels over 24m) have been explicitly targeted, under the pretext of 'scientific' studies and the use of shocking videos.
In the meantime, ECPY recommends all its members, managers, yacht agents and captains of these yachts, experienced professionals who are already environmentally friendly:
To ensure that they are rigorously anchored exclusively in the sandy areas found in these meadows
To lift the chain and anchor vertically by bringing the yacht upright, not by hauling over it
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