Anchorage areas: a change in the regulations under consideration

Mooring area and light equipment - ZMEL

The legislation on organised recreational craft mooring areas (ZMELs) should evolve. Allocation procedure, coastal development issues, opening up to private operators... Xavier Nicolas, director of the Maritime Affairs pleasure craft mission, tells us more about the draft decree under consideration.

Revision of the 1991 MLA Management Order

Anchorage and light equipment zones or ZMELs, which group together dead bodies for the reception of pleasure boats, are today governed by a decree of 1991. Faced with the evolution of nautical activities and the regulatory context, the administration is working on a new text to regulate these uses. After a public consultation completed in July 2019, the authorities are working on the final text to be presented to the Council of State. The objective is to promulgate it during the winter of 2020.

Adapting mooring regulations to new needs

" The decree was issued in 1991, almost 30 years ago. It needed to be reviewed because boating has evolved. "explains Xavier Nicolas, head of the Maritime Affairs Yacht Mission" We conducted an audit with the managers of the MLAs in 2017-2018. We had very constructive responses from all the coastal facades. We found some obstacles that sometimes discouraged the municipalities from creating MLAs. It is almost easier to make requests to the State for direct management. A consensus therefore emerged to review some points. "

Encouraging MLAs as an alternative to ports

The authorities wish to develop the MLAs. " It is a credible alternative to heavy infrastructures and certain marinas. It responds to the seasonal character of yachting, with limited investments. " confirms Xavier Nicolas.

The approach has an economic, but also an environmental interest. To this end, the draft decree reaffirms more clearly the obligation of reversibility of the project. The concession holder must be able to restore the natural site after the end of operations. " We have also integrated landscape issues. "adds Xavier Nicolas.

Open to private managers

Probably the most controversial aspect is the opening up of the management of MLAs to private actors, which until now has been reserved for the competent public authorities. " The aim is to give priority to technical competence, which is sometimes present in the neighbouring marina, while not all municipalities are always strong enough for this. Nevertheless, the communities always keep a right of priority. " tempers Xavier Nicolas.

Specify the award procedure

The administrative environment has evolved since 1991. The new decree specifies the procedure for studying ZMEL files, incorporating institutions that did not exist at the time. " The Maritime Prefect is consulted first because he has the global vision. Then the institutions are consulted according to the project. The important thing for the manager is to know what sauce he will be instructed in. "explains the Maritime Affairs representative.

In order to adapt to local contexts, the MLAs will be subject to contractualisation. " The idea is to move from a prescriptive to a contractual relationship. It will thus be possible to specify in the contract the percentage of places for passing vessels or, as the text suggests, the obligation for the owner of the vessel to have civil liability insurance. "concludes Xavier Nicolas.