Search the directory...


French Riviera Anchor Regulations Catching Yacht Captains by Surprise...

Caroline Blatter

New anchorage regulations in the South of France have caught a number of yacht captains by surprise, leading to court summons by the Maritime police.

Following PYA's discussions with captains as well as exchanges with the Prefecture Maritime’s office, they are issuing new guidelines to all captains with some of the best practices to reduce risks when anchoring in France near restricted maritime areas.

At present, other than in the Bay of St Tropez, the Gendamerie Maritime does not have a large number of vessels on patrol. However, they will rely on radar, AIS and other electronic means to confirm anchoring in restricted areas. They can also rely on visual assessments from sworn officers, on watch in the local radio station (semaphore).

The anchoring regulations are such that, the anchor may be outside a restricted area but if the vessel is seen within the restricted area, it is infringing the regulation. The vessel, anchor and chain must remain outside the restricted area at all times.


Posidonia is a fragile seagrass species which plays a very important part of the underwater ecosystem. Anchoring in the Posidonia seabed can cause significant destruction, which can take thousands of years to restore. There are now restricted anchoring zones in the South of France, with these new regulations applying to all yachts over 24m in length. Infringement can result in hefty fines!

For further detailed information, follow the PYA's French Anchorage Regulations article. 

There are a number of ways to avoid being summoned by maritime authorities.
See their guidance list below:


Please note that as safety is paramount, if you have to seek shelter in a restricted area, you can. However, you will have to demonstrate afterwards that the conditions of the vessel and/or weather were such that you could not avoid anchoring in the restricted area. In any case, it is important that you maintain communication with the radio station (semaphore) at all times. 

Thanks for the PYA for keeping us abreast of the situation in the South of France.

For further information and to keep updated, please follow this link to the PYA 

Explore membership options here.  


In Pictures