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Sunday, July 24, 2011 - 8:01pm

Proposal To Help Boaters, Control Waste

State officials want to make it easier for boaters to stay awhile on Georgia's coast.

The Department of Natural Resources is considering new rules for extended-stay boats.

Right now, if someone wants to moor a boat in Georgia for more than 30 days, he or she has to ask the DNR.

But because there aren't clear rules on who gets permission, it's effectively a month-long limit.

Marina owner Charlie Waller of Isle of Hope, near Savannah, says, some boaters just avoid Georgia, costing local business.

"If a boat comes to a marina, he's not only staying with the marina and paying to stay there, but he's going to go to the grocery story, the restaurant, various types of shops and on and on," says Waller, who is president of the Georgia Marine Business Association, representnig about 30 coastal marinas. "So, that money filters into the economy."

The DNR's Coastal Resources Division has proposed rules on who can live on boats for more than a month and where.

The proposed rule change would make it easier for boaters to stay longer.

But it also would help the state control waste water discharges.

"It's a first step in moving Georgia to a place where it can be a no-discharge zone for the entire state," Waller says. "We strongly support it."

The plan calls for marinas to have certain waste water holding capacities and boaters to restrict depositing their waste into Georgia waters.

Officials plan to present their proposal for public comment at a hearing on Wednesday, July 27th at 5:30pm at Holton's Restaurant in Midway.

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