Anchoring in the French Med - New regulation (16/06/22)

Antibes, 20th June 2022 - Last Thursday, the Prefecture Maritime issued a new regulation regulating the mooring time for ships in French Med territorial waters

The Regulation

According to existing regulation (Art.3):

- All yachts exceeding 80 meters are required to seek anchoring authorisation by calling the CROSS. These authorisations are provided for 24 hour periods, renewable. 

- All yachts exceeding 45 meters but less than 80 meters are required to declare anchoring intentions. 

Art. 4 introduces the new regulation: 

Art. 4.1 and 4.2 indicate that yachts smaller than 45 meters are not required to seek authorisations or declare anchoring intentions. They can anchor for up to 72 hours, renewable. They must maintain appropriate watch.

What should be Art.4.3 (there are two Art. 4.2. - obviously a typo) introduces the real important matter:

"The duration of the anchoring can be reduced by maritime authorities for reasons related to maritime safety, traffic or environmental protection".

Analysis of the new regulation by the PYA CEO 

We understand that this new regulation is not targeted at professional yachts but to smaller vessels owned by holidaymakers who leave their boat at anchor for weeks or months with no crew or no watch. This is also targeted at a number of well-known vessels at anchor for months or years on end (there is one of these in the bay of Golfe Juan).

For the past couple of years, the PYA has been developing and cultivating a very good working relationship with French authorities in general and with the Prefecture Maritime in Toulon in particular.  PYA members may remember that, during the last summer season, a number of yachts anchored in prohibited areas, mainly contravening the recent Posidonia anchoring regulation. Several of these yachts were repeat offenders, anchoring many times over a few days, in prohibited areas.

During this period, the PYA and the Prefecture Maritime held a number of informal discussions on the matter. It appears that there were a fairly large number of instances when the authorities attempted to contact contravening yachts and found the yachts were not maintaining a proper listening watch. 

This new regulation may be used to prevent yachts not maintaining appropriate watch (e.g. not responding to VHF calls), from staying in the areas. 

Recommendation from the PYA

Whenever possible, the PYA contacts yachts identified by the Prefecture Maritime as contravening regulations, to seek “their side of the story”. We did obtain confirmation from a number of captains that they “did not hear the radio calls”.  One of the captains received a warning from the Gendarmerie Maritime who informed him that should he be caught re-offending repeatedly the Posidonia anchoring regulation OR not maintaining a proper watch, he would be banned from working in French waters. 

France is a country known for many things, one being the fact that they keep churning out new laws and regulations on a constant basis. This makes it sometimes very difficult for business, industry or operators to ensure compliance. However, in our case, it should be very easy for yachts to be compliant with Art. 4.2 of this new regulation. We urge all yachts to maintain appropriate watch, and ensure they anchor in authorised and safe areas.

Link to the regulation