Regulations of Regattas, Boat Races, Marine Parades, Tournaments, or Exhibitions (O.C.G.A. § 52-7-19)

Legal Commentary. If you are planning to host an event on Georgia public waters then you must obtain a permit for the event by completing a Marine Event Permit application, which is available at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources website. You must get apply for a permit at least one month before the event. However, if you know that the event will likely have more than 10,000 people attending, you must file the permit 90 days before the event date.

See the full text of the statute below:

Regulations of Regattas, Boat Races, Marine Parades, Tournaments, or Exhibitions (O.C.G.A. § 52-7-19)

(a) The department may regulate the holding of regattas, boat races, marine parades, tournaments, or exhibitions which by their nature, circumstance, or location will introduce extra or unusual hazards to the safety or lives of participants or observers or will subject the water and adjoining upland resource upon which the event will be held to extra or unusual stress from pollution, litter, or overuse. The board may adopt and may from time to time amend regulations concerning the safety of vessels and persons thereon, either observers or participants, and the protection of the water and adjoining upland resources of this state. Whenever a regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition is proposed to be held, the person in charge thereof shall, at least 30 days prior thereto, file an application with the department for permission to hold such regatta, race, parade, tournament, or exhibition. The application shall set forth the date, time, and location proposed for holding such regatta, race, parade, tournament, or exhibition and such other information as the department may require. It shall be unlawful to conduct such regatta, race, parade, tournament, or exhibition without authorization of the department.

(b) (1) Any person sponsoring an event requiring a permit under this Code section and which is anticipated to attract 10,000 or more participants shall provide to the department an indemnity bond issued by a surety company authorized to transact business in this state in the amount of $50,000.00 or such lesser amount as determined appropriate by the commissioner in his discretion under criteria set forth in regulations adopted by the board. The bond shall be payable to the department and conditioned upon the faithful performance of the requirements set forth in this Code section, the regulations promulgated pursuant to this Code section, and the conditions of the permit issued under this Code section.

(2) Upon the failure or refusal of the sponsor to comply with any requirement of this Code section, the regulations promulgated pursuant to this Code section, or the conditions of a permit issued under this Code section, which failure results in damage to the department or to this state, the commissioner may make demand upon the sponsor and the surety for such portion of the face amount of the bond as he determines is necessary to compensate the department or the state for all damages suffered. Upon refusal or failure of the sponsor or surety to pay over the sum demanded, he shall initiate an action at law to recover the sum.

(3) Upon recovery of the sum, the department is authorized to reimburse itself for any expenses incurred in connection with the cleanup and minimization of damage to natural resources, to expend such sum to clean up and minimize the damage, or both.

(4) Any person sponsoring an event requiring a permit under this Code section and which is anticipated to attract 10,000 or more participants and spectators shall also provide a forfeiture bond issued by a surety company authorized to transact business in this state in the amount of $50,000.00 or such lesser amount as determined appropriate by the commissioner in his discretion under criteria set forth in regulations by the board. The bond shall be payable to the department and conditioned upon the faithful performance of the requirements set forth in this Code section, the regulations promulgated pursuant to this Code section, and the conditions of the permit issued under this Code section.

(5) Upon the failure or refusal of the sponsor to comply with any requirement of this Code section, the regulations promulgated pursuant to this Code section, or the conditions of a permit issued under this Code section, the commissioner may make demand upon the sponsor and the surety for the face amount of the bond; provided, however, that the commissioner may, in his discretion and in accordance with regulations adopted by the board, make demand for an amount less than the face amount. In exercising such discretion, he may consider the seriousness and degree of the noncompliance. Upon refusal or failure of the sponsor or surety to pay over the sum demanded, he shall initiate an action at law to recover the sum.

(6) Upon recovery of the sum, it shall be paid into the state treasury.

(c) The commissioner may in the exercise of his discretion deny an application for a permit for a proposed marine event when, having considered the number of participants and spectators likely to be attracted to the event, the nature and purpose of the event, and the area in which it would be held, he determines that:

(1) The ability of the sponsor to enlist a sufficient number of authorized peace officers to enforce, during the course of the marine event, the applicable state laws and the conditions of the marine event permit issued therefor and to control properly the number of participants is inadequate under the circumstances;

(2) The conduct of the event will subject the waters upon which the event will be held or the adjoining upland resource to such extraordinary stress from pollution or damage due to overuse or create such extraordinary hazards to the safety or lives of participants or spectators that such pollution or damage or such safety hazards cannot be successfully prevented or mitigated by permit conditions; or

(3) The financial and manpower costs incurred by public agencies in the regulation of the marine event are greater than the recreational benefits likely to accrue to the general public from the conduct of the event.

(d) Any peace officer, including law enforcement personnel of the department, assigned to duty assisting in the supervision of any event permitted under this Code section may enforce any of the criminal laws of this state in connection with such assignment.

(e) This Code section shall not exempt any person from compliance with applicable federal laws or regulations.

HISTORY: Ga. L. 1973, p. 1427, § 16; Ga. L. 1980, p. 738, § 11; Ga. L. 1981, p. 987, § 1; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 52; Ga. L. 1995, p. 10, § 52.