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 National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest near shore "live-bottom" reefs of the southeastern United States. It is just one of 15 marine protected areas that make up the National Marine Sanctuary System and is governed by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

The Sanctuary is located 19 miles east of Sapelo Island, Ga. between Savannah and Brunswick, Ga. Click here for a location map. It encompasses 22 square miles (about 14,000 acres) of live-bottom and sandy bottom habitat as well as the overlying water column.

Direct access to the reef itself requires experience in open-ocean diving; so the opportunities for a first hand encounter with the Sanctuary for novice divers are limited. However, the Sanctuary is popular with recreational anglers, boaters and more experienced divers.

What to know before you go:

Click here for information about diving at Gray's Reef.

Click here for information about fishing at Gray's Reef.

For the full text of sanctuary regulations, see 15 CFR 922 Subpart I .

Sunrise at Sea

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