France has introduced new anchorage regulations (enforced in March 2021) which prevent yachts over 24m (78ft) from anchoring within areas containing protected Posidonia seagrass beds.
Posidonia - sometimes referred to as the lung of the ocean - plays a vital role in the production of oxygen and purification of our ocean. Unfortunately, Posidonia is incredibly fragile and anchoring in the Posidonia seabed can cause significant destruction which could take up to one thousand years to restore.
The maritime authorities
The maritime authorities recognise the positive economic impact of the yachting industry on the Mediterranean coasts, as well as the efforts of yachting professionals to protect the environment. They will, therefore, encourage the creation of organized buoy fields and moorings, with public as well as private funding. These facilities will be under the responsibility of land-based authorities and local communities.
- Anchorage regulations are applicable to yachts over 24m (78ft);
- Infringement of the new regulations could result in fines of up to €150,000 and also possible banishment of the vessel from French waters. The Captain is ultimately responsible;
- All restricted zones are clearly indicated within the maps (below), which are a part of the new decrees issued by the Maritime Prefecture;
- The maritime authorities are attempting to speed up the update of the new charts published by SHOM;
- It is also understood that messages regarding the anchoring rules will be broadcasted through CROSSMED, in both French and in English;
- All restricted areas will be displayed on the Donia app;
- In case of adverse weather, the authorities have confirmed that safety and security will take precedence. Vessels that may take shelter in forbidden zones (Posidonia meadows) but may be required to provide justification for their decision;
- The authorities have indicated that, in future regulation, they will adopt a limitation of mooring time to 72 hours. This will not apply to yachts in routine operation, with crew on board, but rather to vessels left without supervision and presenting a risk of stranding. To enable this management of mooring times, the Maritime Prefecture has agreed to establish a list of yachts (24-45m) benefiting from an implicit renewal every 72 hours, for the whole season.
Unlike the Spanish or Italian authorities, France elected to sanction the position of the vessel itself. This can lead to serious consequences as the maritime infraction can amount to 150,000€ and possible banishment from French waters, whereas the environmental infraction is ''only" a hundred euros. In addition, several of the means to be used to establish potential offenses, such as human observation from aircraft, boats or land-based platforms can lead to arbitrary decisions.
Read our latest news article on the infringement of these regulations during the summer season of 2021.
To view the maps released by the maritime prefecture, click below.
- Decree 2020-221 - La Racou / Anse de la Raguès / Plage de l’Huile / Plage d’En Baux / Anse de la Mauresque / Sainte-Catherine Anse de Paulilles / Du cap Oullestrell au cap d’Osne / Digue du port de Banyuls-sur-Mer / Réserve naturelle marine de Cerbère-Banyuls / Anse de Terrimbo / Banyuls-sur-Mer / Argelès-sur-Mer
- Decree 2021-020 – Hérault / Cap d’Agde / Frontignan / Palavas-les-Flots
- Decree 2016-159 – Côte Bleue Marine / Martigues / Sausset-les-Pins / Carry-le-Rouet
- Decree 2021-011 – Baie de la Ciotat
- Decree 2020-245 – Point Fauconnière / Cap Cépet
- Decree 2020-246 – Cap Carqueiranne / Cap Bénat
- Decree 2020-247 – Cap Bénat / Pointe de Bonne-Terrasse / Baise de Briande / Baie de Bon-Porté
- Decree 2020-248 – Cap Pinet / Pointe de Saint-Aygulf / Saint Tropez / Plage des Cigales / Plage de la Nartelle / Plage de la Gaillarde
- Decree 2020-249 – Saint-Raphaël / Pointe de l’Aiguille
- Decree 2020-205 – Pointe de l’Aiguille / Embouchure fleuve Var / Golfe de la Napoule / Golfe Juan
- Decree 2020-204 – Cap Ferrat / Cap Martin
- Decree 2020-206 – Réserve naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio / Les Moines – Ventilègne / Bonifacio-Pertusato / Sant’Amanza-Lavezzi / Porto-Vecchio – Santa Giulia / Baie de Figari / Golfe de Ventilegne / Secteur de la Madonetta / Secteur de l’Escalier du roi d’Aragon / Île Piana / Punta de Sperone / Îles Lavezzi / Cala di Grecu / Golfe de Sant’Amanza
- Decree 2021-099 – Baie de la Ciotat / Baie de Cassis / Baie de Lecques
- Decree 2021-095 – Haute-Corse / Plage de Saleccia / Plage du Loto / Centuri / Barcaggio / Erbalunga
For more information, visit donia.fr. Alternatively, you can access the app via the QR code below.
- Yachting Pages has released some useful information and helpful images of the anchorage zones along the coastline - Click here.
- For further information, please visit the website of the Préfecture Maritime de la Mediterranée: https://www.premar-mediterranee.gouv.fr.
Watch our webinar on the French anchorage regulations now: