Georgia considers relaxing liveaboard law

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Boaters in Georgia's saltwater coastal region might soon be able to get permission to spend more than 30 nights on their vessels under a rule change to be considered next month by the state’s Natural Resources Board.

Since 1992, state law has limited stays to 30 days. The cutoff was imposed by the General Assembly as a way to rid the Altamaha River of derelict houses on stilts that were considered eyesores as well as a source of pollution because they didn’t have sanitation facilities, Doug Haymans, policy coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division, told the Augusta Chronicle.

Now the owners of saltwater marinas that want to play host to visiting yachts are lobbying through their trade group, the Georgia Marine Business Association, for relaxed limits.

On Friday, the state’s Coastal Marshlands Committee will consider a proposal to allow longer stays for people staying in saltwater marinas that have sewage pumpout facilities. Boaters would have to lock or disable their vessel’s sewage-discharge mechanisms and keep a log of when they empty their sewage holding tanks.

The Department of Natural Resources board will consider the proposal next week at its monthly meeting. That would start a 30-day period of public comment before the board’s September meeting, when the new rule could be formally approved.

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