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French regulations regarding anchorage and Posidonia – Updated

1 April 2021

After two years of discussions, the main orders prohibiting mooring in the French protected areas of the Mediterranean have been published. This means that yachts will have to anchor further from the shore and beaches. The three main yachting associations: PYA, ECPY and GEPY met recently with the services of the Maritime Prefecture, to discuss the new regulation and its implementation.

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.The three associations raised concerns regarding the complexity of the new rules and the need to implement clear information campaigns about the implementation of the rules (up-to-date charts, etc.).

Key facts

The maritime authorities will 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.

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) may be required to provide justification for their decision.

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, both in French and in English.

It is understood that the restricted areas will also be displayed on the Donia application.

There are areas such as the beach of Pampelonne in Saint Tropez/Ramatuelle where the regulations are not yet clarified.

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€, whereas the environmental infraction is "only" a hundred euros. In addition, several of the means to be used to establish potential offences, such as human observation from aircrafts, boats or land-based platforms can lead to arbitrary decisions.

PYA, ECPY and GEPY will continue to work closely with the maritime authorities (Préfecture maritime de Méditerranée), to propose a joint Préfecture maritime / Yachting professionals observatory to monitor incidents during the season.

Anchorage regulations:

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For further information, please visit the website of the Préfecture Maritime de la Mediterranée:

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