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The moment designation and regulation of a site is introduced, a mechanism for collecting taxes is also created. Bureaucrats are drawn to such an opportunity like moths to a flame.

Lets take the example of France.  According to Noonsite, the international cruising website,

“The controversial tax on anchoring/mooring in large areas of French territorial waters has been re-introduced and has passed its first reading by the Chamber of Deputies.

“This bill is part of the new territorial organization of the French Republic (NOTRe). The French Government has proposed, without any consultation with the boating or marine industry, to impose a mooring tax on any vessel moored or anchored inside a Marine Protected Area. These marine protected areas apply to about 25% of the French coast.

“The proposal is for a tax of 20 euros/metre/per day. This means up to 100 euros per day for a 5m motorboat, and 300 euros for a 15m yacht. With such a tax, no boat is going to risk mooring or anchoring in an area where such fees are applied.”


Noonsite report of new French anchoring tax

Proposed French  anchoring charges

Go for it!  >>Go for it!i  >>Go Top

There is more detail on the Noonsite website, including a link to a pdf map  which roughly lists the 25% of the French coast that would be affected. The document is not totally specific, but this anchoring charge could apply to

         ……. And many more (incl lots in Mediterranean France)

RYA commented as follows

“The RYA is not in a position to lobby the French legislature in relation to domestic legislation, although no doubt our French equivalent (the FFV) will do so.

“The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea prohibits coastal states from levying charges on foreign ships by reason only of their passage through the territorial sea and such “passage” includes anchoring only insofar as it is incidental to ordinary navigation (e.g. awaiting a favourable tide). UNLCOS does not, however, prohibit the authorities within a coastal state from charging foreign vessels for anchoring for other purposes (e.g. awaiting the next charter or cargo or recreational activity) or, indeed, from charging domestic vessels.”

“If the legislation is adopted then we will endeavour to provide as much information as possible for boaters wishing to visit France. RYA members will then need to decide whether they wish to visit the various marine protected areas and pay the requisite fee or go elsewhere!”

I have expressed the hope that the RYA Cruising Committee will take up the matter through appropriate European channels.

The RYA’s policy on marine protected areas includes the following statement:-

“Statutory management measures should not be imposed unless it can be demonstrated that they are enforceable and will be enforced. Such measures must be effectively communicated to those likely to be affected, using methods appropriate to the activity”.

The statement is intended to support the RYA’s long-standing proposition that legal restrictions on anchoring etc that might arise from the designation of marine protected areas should be appropriately charted and/or marked.

If only that were EU regulation or advice to Member States!