Public Comments - Live-aboard Vessels
The following are our official comments regarding for Live-aboard Vessel Rulemaking Submitted to the Coastal Resources Division of Georgia Department of Natural Resources
The Georgia Conservancy would like to express its support of rulemaking related to House Bill 201 – Live-aboard Vessels. This bill will protect our important Georgia estuarine ecosystem and help maintain healthy water quality.
The Georgia Conservancy is a statewide conservation organization that works to develop solutions to protect Georgia’s natural resources through advocacy and collaboration on conservation issues. Founded in 1967, we are one of Georgia’s oldest conservation-based nonprofit organizations, and we have a long history of advocating for coastal protection. We have had a coastal office since 1972.
Georgia Conservancy coastal policy highlights estuarine protections, which is the main point of the proposed rules. Specifically, our coastal protection policies state that “Georgia’s saltmarsh ecosystem provides a nursery for commercially and recreationally valued species of fish, shellfish, and other wildlife…these coastal land and water resources provide habitat for more threatened and endangered species than any other region of the state…the sum of these resources is a highly integrated, interdependent ecosystem that is vitally linked to Georgia’s economy and quality of life.”
House Bill 201 creates an opportunity for mooring outside of marinas (eligible marinas, per new regulations) in estuarine waters. In addition to wildlife, these tidal marshes, creeks, and rivers are a common resource shared with many users including fisherman, shellfish watermen and kayakers, as well as with docks.
The Georgia Conservancy agrees that the responsibility for enforcement, along with criminal penalties, of these rules, as written under Title 52, Chapter 7 (Registration, Operation, and Sale of Watercraft), is appropriate and will be consistent with other boating regulations in Georgia.
Derelict boats have become a more significant issue recently, especially after the two recent hurricanes. The proposed regulations will aid in monitoring and removing derelict boats before they become a hazard or a liability to Georgia taxpayers.
Limiting mooring near our oyster beds and lease areas will help to protect water quality at this important resource.
Marinas and the Department of Natural Resources have both invested heavily during the last few years to put in place sewage pump-out systems for boats up and down Georgia’s coast. It makes sense to have a regulatory framework, such as the one proposed, that supports these efforts.
Thank you for your consideration.
Charles H. McMillan, III
Coastal Director, Georgia Conservancy
President, Georgia Conservancy
For any questions regarding our official comments, please contact Georgia Conservancy Coastal Director Charles McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org