What are the new French laws on anchoring around Posidonia seagrass?

French anchorage regulations

It has been decided in different territorial decrees to ban yachts over 24 metres (78 feet) from anchoring on Posidonia seagrass and other sensitive habitats.

Local regulations have been implemented since 2016 for yachts above 80 metres (262 feet) to moor in suitable areas (decree 155-2016). Another decree (123-2019) bans anchoring into protected species, such as Posidonia seagrass.

Regulation charts are available here.

Penalties

There are serious penalties for captains that do not adhere to the regulations around anchoring on Posidonia. Captains can face imprisonment, fines of up to €150,000 and bans from navigating in French Mediterranean waters if these laws are broken.

Decrees for each bay:

Golfe de la Napoule / Golfe Juan - Decree 2020-205

Golfe de la Napoule / Golfe Juan
Reproduced with the kind permission of Préfet Maritime de la Méditerranée.

Saint-Tropez / Plage des Cigales - Decree 2020-248

Saint-Tropez / Plage des Cigales
Reproduced with the kind permission of Préfet Maritime de la Méditerranée.

Cap Martin - Decree 2020-204

Cap Martin
Reproduced with the kind permission of Préfet Maritime de la Méditerranée.

Click here to view the charts by SHOM for each of the bays.

See below all other decrees for each bay:

Posidonia decrees map

  • 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

Mooring tips

Aim for sandy areas, easily identifiable by their clear bottom. Use appropriate length of chain and warp. Raise your anchor correctly (once the boat is in position).

In the French Riviera/Corsica, the Posidonia seagrass is generally present until depths of 30 to 40 metres (98 to 131 feet). For an eco-friendly mooring, anchor below 30 to 40 metres.

Donia: free sustainable mooring app

To help captains anchor away from sensitive and protected species, an app for smartphones and tablets was developed by Andromède Océanologie and Agence de L’Eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse. It features several free marine habitat maps to guide users towards a safe and environmentally friendly mooring spot.

Find out more information here and how to download the app:

QR Code Donia

Superyacht anchoring

What is Posidonia seagrass?

Posidonia, otherwise known as seagrass, is an underwater plant found growing in the Mediterranean Sea amid coastline and 25-metre (82-foot) depths. It is one of the oldest living beings on earth, living up to 100,000 years, and is paramount to the underwater ecosystems by providing important sources of oxygen.

Impact of anchoring

When a deadweight mooring or anchor is dropped, seagrass meadows are heavily damaged. The Mediterranean Sea attracts many yachts from 20 to 180 metres (65 to 590 feet) between May and the end of September every year. Tourism activities, including yachting, can greatly benefit local economies. The over frequentation of yachts in a concentrated marine environment, however, can be particularly harmful to wildlife like seagrass if not properly managed.

International issue

The Mediterranean basin is concerned by the impact of anchoring into Posidonia seagrass. The Mediterranean Posidonia Network gathers different stakeholders (authorities, marine protected areas, socio-professionals, scientists, associations, etc.) from different countries to find collective solutions to enable eco-friendly mooring along the Mediterranean coast.

For more information, visit Mediterranean Posidonia Network below:

Med Posidonia Network QR code

Want to know more about Posidonia and the anchoring regulations in French waters? Read more articles here.


French Anchoring Regulations: Posidonia
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