- Operations - New anchorage guidelines for captains

By Conor Feasey

New anchorage guidelines for captains

New anchorage regulations in the South of France have caught a number of yacht captains by surprise, according to PYA…

The Professional Yachting Association (PYA) has issued new guidelines to captains operating in the South of France, following the introduction of new anchorage regulations in the region. PYA says the new guidelines were created to reduce risks when anchoring in France near restricted maritime areas, following discussions with captains and the Prefecture Maritime’s office.

Other than in the Bay of St Tropez, the Gendamerie Maritime does not have a large number of vessels on patrol. However, it will rely on radar, AIS and other electronic means to confirm anchoring in restricted areas. It can also rely on visual assessments from sworn officers, on watch in the local radio station (semaphore).

Ultimately, the vessel, anchor and chain must remain outside the restricted area at all times. The anchoring regulations state that if the anchor is outside a restricted area, but the vessel is seen within the restricted area, it is still infringing the regulations. 

To avoid breaching the regulations, the PYA recommends:

-  Ensure captains and crew have the latest charts, publications and local bylaws.

-  Select a safe anchoring area for the vessel.

-  Confirm with the local radio station (semaphore) that the vessel is within an authorised area. If not, ask for coordinates for an authorised area. Record the radio exchange with the radio station (their own calls are recorded).

-  Take photos of the vessel’s position, from displays on the bridge, and note the latitude and longitude of the anchor position in the Log Book.

-  When at sea and at anchor, maintain a listening watch on Channel 16 at all times. According to the PYA’s discussions with the Prefecture Maritime, a number of vessels previously anchored in restricted areas had missed one or two calls from the Semaphore. Being available to contact is extremely important for maritime authorities.

-  Mooring buoys are available in Cannes, Beaulieu Sur Mer and Golfe Juan and can be booked via the Donia App.

Prefecture Maritime’s recommendations for captains are: 

-  Choose sandy areas, easily identifiable by their clear bottom, using sonar.

-  If unsure, anchor at a depth greater than 30m in the French Riviera or 40m in Corsica.

-  Reverse at a maximum of 0.5 knots and lift the anchor with the bow of the boat directly above it.

-  For short mooring periods, avoid using excessive chain length.

-  It is important that yachts maintain communication with the radio station (semaphore) at all times. 

Notably,  as safety is paramount if captains have to seek shelter in a restricted area, they can. However, they will have to demonstrate afterwards that the conditions of the vessel and/or weather were such that they could not avoid anchoring in the restricted area. 

Profile links

Professional Yachting Association

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