Written by attorney Robert Louis Gardana

SAILING THE SOUTHEAST – Special Anchorages and Anchorage Grounds:

Whether you looking for a place to drop the hook for a night or a week or when mechanical or weather, or adverse tides or currents make sailing impractical or hazardous, under Rule 30 of the Inland Navigation Rules - A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule. Under the Code of Federal regulations, § 110.1 (a) The areas described in subpart A of this part are designated as special anchorage areas. Vessels of less than 20 meters in length, and barges, canal boats, scows, or other nondescript craft, are not required to sound signals required by rule 35 of the Inland Navigation Rules (33 U.S.C. 2035) and vessels of less than 20 meters are not required to exhibit anchor lights or shapes required by rule 30 of the Inland Navigation Rules (33 U.S.C. 2030). Most States have special anchorages or anchorage grounds. Within these areas, vessels less than 65’ need not display a 360 ° anchor light. The geographic coordinates of special anchorages are expressed in terms of latitude or longitude and an exhaustive list of special anchorages is found online at: For example, the special anchorage for St. Simons Island, Georgia is designated by the Code of Federal Regulation as: The area beginning at a point southwest of Frederica River Bridge, St. Simons Island Causeway at latitude 31°09'58" N., longitude 81°24'55" W.; thence southwesterly to latitude 31°09'42" N., longitude 81°25'10" W.; thence westerly to the shoreline at latitude 31°09'45" N., longitude 81°25'20" W.; thence northeasterly along the shoreline to latitude 31°10'02" N., longitude 81°25'00" W.; thence southeasterly to the point of origin. [CGD 76–47, 42 FR 40694, Aug. 11, 1977] To list all special anchorages, with specific coordinates, would be beyond the intent of this article, but special anchorages in the southeastern states of the US are located at Lake Murray, S.C., Ashley River, SC., St. Simons Island, Georgia,, St. Johns River, Fla., Indian River at Sebastian, Fla., Indian River at Vero Beach, Fla., Okeechobee Waterway, St. Lucie River, Stuart, FL., Marco Island, Marco River, Fla., Manatee River, Bradenton, Fla., Apollo Beach, Fla., Corpus Christi Bay, Tex., York River, Va., naval anchorage, Hampton Roads, Virginia and adjacent waters, Lockwoods Folly Inlet, N.C., Port of Charleston, SC., Skidaway River, Isle of Hope, Ga., Atlantic Ocean off Fort George Inlet, near Mayport, Fla., St. Johns River, Florida., Atlantic Ocean, off the Port of Palm Beach, FL., Port Everglades, Florida., Atlantic Ocean off Miami and Miami Beach, Fla., Key West Harbor, Key West, Fla., naval explosives anchorage area., Tortugas Harbor, in vicinity of Garden Key, Dry Tortugas, Fla., Tampa Bay, Fla., St. Joseph Bay, Fla., Mobile Bay, Ala., at entrance., Mobile Bay, Ala., and Mississippi Sound, Miss., Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico, near Petit Bois Island, Miss., Mississippi River below Baton Rouge, LA, including South and Southwest Passes., Sabine Pass Channel, Sabine Pass, Tex., Galveston Harbor, Bolivar Roads Channel, Texas.

The areas so designated are well removed from the fairways and located where general navigation will not endanger or be endangered by unlighted vessels. The authority to designate special anchorage areas was transferred to and vested in the Secretary of Homeland Security by section 902(j) of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-241, 120 Stat 516), and delegated to the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. The Commandant redelegated the authority to establish anchorage grounds to each Coast Guard District Commander as provided in 33 CFR 1.05-1(e)(1)(i).

When using these special anchorages, common sense and courtesy is the rule, but most anchorages employ basic rules that the anchorage area is for the temporary use of vessels of all types and except when stress of weather or adverse tides or currents make sailing impractical or hazardous, vessels shall not anchor in the anchorage area for periods exceeding 48 hours ; shall not anchor so as to obstruct the passage of other vessels proceeding to or from available anchorage spaces; Anchors shall not be placed channelward from the anchorage area, and no portion of the hull or rigging of any anchored vessel shall extend channelward from the limits of the anchorage area; and fixed moorings, piles or stakes, and floats or buoys for marking anchorages or moorings in place are prohibited.

Captain Robert L. Gardana is a licensed U.S.C.G. Master and Attorney for over 30 years. He is the founder and president of Robert L. Gardana, P.A... His practice focus is maritime law, marine insurance, maritime liens, passenger and crew claims, and personal injury. His contact is Robert l. Gardana at Robert L. Gardana, P.A., 12350 SW 132nd Court, Suite 204, Miami, Fl 33186, website: e-mail: [email protected]

Additional resources provided by the author

i. Special anchorage for St. Simons Island, Georgia 33 CFR 110.72b

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