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“Escales” risks becoming “No way !”

Home ActualitésNews in English“Escales” risks becoming “No way !”

“Escales” risks becoming “No way !”

1 Comment



It's official, since it's been published in the newspapers and on the Radio1 website ("Escales", the teleservice for ships in Polynesia). The Direction Polynésienne des Affaires Maritimes is starting to implement its "single, compulsory reservation portal" for all boats entering Polynesian waters.
Basically, a sailboat in Panama will have to register on the site and reserve the moorings it wishes to make in French Polynesia! This means reserving dates: on the 4th of such and such a month I'll be in Nuku Hiva, on the 18th I'll be in Ua Pou, on the 14th of the following month I'll be in Makemo, on the 31st I'll be in Rangiroa, on ... etc etc ....
All this will have to be planned, bearing in mind that the yacht is still 8,177 km away ... as the crow flies! and that there's still a huge part of the Pacific to cross, with not inconsiderable meteorological and technical hazards!
When this remark was made to the Maritime Cluster during the presentation of the pre-project, we were told: "When a tourist leaves Europe to come to Polynesia, he first makes sure he has a hotel room! It's the same for sailboats!

Setting up such a system for yachtsmen is therefore absurd.

The DPAM's idea is to be able to know, at any time, where each sailboat is, by regulating all anchorages? It's true that at present, not a single administrative or other entity is able to say how many yachts are in Polynesian waters.
But it seems to go even further: the DPAM wants to control everything by privatizing a public space!

Of course, the AVP has no problem with this being regulated - quite the contrary, in fact... BUT it has to be done in consultation with all stakeholders, first and foremost the yachtsmen who will be the first to be affected by these measures. Particularly as they are the most likely to be able to present the particularities of their way of life ... in order to avoid decisions that cannot be applied. *

The examples are obvious. The DPAM has started to regulate anchorages on Raiatea, and the AVP asks for information: "OK, it's ready, we'll keep you informed! Same thing on Fakarava for the declaration of the anchorage management project: "The bylaws are ready. We'll consult you.
The illustration of "being presented with a fait accompli" couldn't be better!

In the light of a few echoes and rumours, it doesn't seem too far-fetched to raise the question of how all these "corps-morts" are to be installed, managed and maintained. Indeed, to do this, we're going to need to find some ... serious managers, we'd be tempted to say. The example of Bora Bora doesn't seem to point in that direction. American insurance companies won't let sailboats insured with them sit on moorings with no certainty of maintenance.


The project has the merit of clearly setting out a necessary reflection on the "increase in maritime traffic". That's true. But let's be careful not to set up a one-sided, or almost one-sided, debate and then impose it, as the project will not be able to adapt to yachting as it stands. Or it could, but that would mean the disappearance of yachting in Polynesia. Is it reasonable to deprive ourselves of a financial windfall in these difficult times?

Common sense is disconcerting. Those who are allergic to it always have a bit of "I do what I want" about them. The ambition of consultation must be aimed at. Only then will common sense prevail.


* It's worth noting that the Commune de Moorea has finally opened its doors to possible consultation with boaters for the next PGEM. We would like to thank them for this step forward, and look forward to hearing from them soon.


  • DaMouelle Post author


    Comment from Michael, post on 31 mai 2023 at 12 h 32 min in the french version article

    Thank-you for your feedback on this. From a practical perspective it’s impossible to determine when you will be able to get to an anchorage or country via a sailboat as you have noted. Safety protocols need to be in place to allow a boat safe harbor should an unexpected system develop or a boat has a mechanical problem.

    There are some very conscientious cruisers that take great precautions to protecting the marine environment that they are in. We not against the idea of moorings, in fact I think that many boaters and cruisers would welcome them if they are properly maintained and provide protection against damage to coral and seabed. I don’t believe that cruisers would be against paying the appropriate fee that goes towards collection fees and maintenance of the moorings.

    European Insurance is now requiring that mooring balls are insured for breakage too, if you read the fine print. Many cruisers are nervous of mooring balls, especially if they cannot inspect them themselves. The risk of breaking off a mooring is too great. The frontal system that passed thru Fakarava two weeks ago saw two boats break free of their mooring ball.

    I’m encouraged to hear that Moorea is open to hearing from boaters. All of the ‘abandoned’ boats are not cruising boats. I for one would certainly be willing to field questions from the municipality as a family that is cruising. The money we have spent both onshore and thru various ‘tours’ is not insignificant, but definitely worth it.

    One final point is that all our trash, and I mean all of our trash, is from food packaging that is purchased locally. I would argue that cruisers do far better than people on land with with regards to single use plastic. We always bring bags for both groceries and fruit to remove as much single use packaging waste as possible.

    Thank you AVP for all that you are doing for sailors in French Polynesia.

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