National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are currently closed to the public, and in accordance with Executive Order 13991 - Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask Wearing, all individuals in NOAA-managed areas are required to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on mask-wearing and maintaining social distances. Sanctuary waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance, U.S. Coast Guard requirements, and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Spotfin Butterflyfish Visiting Your Sanctuary


Gray's Reef is a popular spot off the Georgia coast for recreational fishing and diving. The sanctuary is only accessible by private boat. Some independent boat operators run fishing trips and dive trips to the Sanctuary. Gray's Reef does not make recommendations.

Sport fishing occurs year-round but at different levels of intensity. Fishing for pelagic species such as king mackerel is one of the most popular activities; sport fishing tournaments sponsored by private fishing clubs and marinas take place in the spring and summer. Gray's Reef is a popular destination for participants.

Only rod and reel and handline are allowable fishing gear at Gray's Reef. See the regulations section for details. It is also against regulations to anchor in Gray's Reef except during an emergency.

In addition to sanctuary regulations, anglers should be aware of and follow all regional federal fisheries regulations, which can be found at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council regulations web page . Free apps for iPhone in the App Store and Android phone in Google Play are available, and include species identification guides and regulations for each species.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Coastal Resources Division publishes numerous brochures that can be mailed or downloaded and offer information about the Environment, Fishing - Fisheries (Angler's Guide, Offshore Artificial Reef, Fishing Regulations, etc.), Coastal Management and Shellfish.

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary does not endorse or promote individual businesses or clubs, but to our knowledge the following are currently the only businesses that may offer dive charters to Gray's Reef NMS:

Latitude 31 Dive Company

Know the guidelines and regulations before you go:

       Two types of flags are used to indicate diving activity.

        Divers Flag. Rectangular red flag with white diagonal stripe. A rectangular red flag, at least 15" x 15", with a white diagonal stripe is required on state waters.
        Alfa Flag. Blue and white vertically striped flag. A blue and white International Code Flag A (or Alfa flag) is required on vessels on federally controlled waters

  • Scuba divers or snorkelers must display a diver-down flag that marks the diving area.
  • Vessels must remain at least 100 feet away from the person in the water.

Sunrise at Sea

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