Regulations for Sailing in Croatia
For as long as there has been yachting, the numerous forerunners of present-day yachters have sailed the Croatia shores of the Adriatic Sea.
Once they were exclusively wealthy yacht owners, famous industrialists and crowned heads.
Later, as the yachting movement was developed and democratised, especially during the 1970s, the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea became the destination or base of a much greater number of vessels.
In recent years Croatia regularly records the entry of several tens of thousands of foreign vessels each year, while some ten thousand vessels sailing under foreign colours are berthed in Croatian marinas.
All sailors are welcome in Croatian territorial waters, and procedures and regulations for entry are simple, but should be kept in mind to make the stay as pleasant as possible.
The navigation of foreign sailors in Croatia is regulated by the maritime Code and accompanying regulations.
Upon entering Croatian waters, they are obliged to head to the nearest maritime customs checkpoint and then to the Harbourmaster’s Office to purchase a vignette (sticker) permitting them to sail in Croatian territorial waters for one year, starting with the date the vignette was purchased.
This effectively makes the vignette a permit to sail in Croatian territorial waters. When purchasing the vignette, costs are covered for the navigation safety duty, lighthouse duty and the administrative duty. The amount of the navigation safety duty depends on the length of the vessel.
If the vessel comes to Croatia several years in a row these duties are reduced. During the vignette’s validity period double the number of crewmembers plus thirty percept of the number of crewmembers that may stay on the vessel according to the on-board documentation of the vessel in question can be changed.
Children under the age of 12 will not be included in that number. New crewmembers are entered into the Crew List form, which is certified at the Harbourmaster’s Office and must be on the vessel when it is in use. Before the vessel leaves Croatian waters it must call in to a maritime customs checkpoint and then sail by the shortest route out of Croatian territorial waters.
The following maritime border checkpoints are always open:
Umag, Porec, Rovinj, Pula, Raša (Bršica), Rijeka, Mali Lošinj, Zadar, Šibenik, Split, Plo?e, Korcula, Dubrovnik, Vela Luka and Ubli, while checkpoints at the ACI marinas in Umag, Novigrad, Sali, Božava, Primošten, Hvar, Stari Grad on the island of Hvar, Vis, Komiža and Cavtat are also open during the peak tourism season. Customs checks and passport controls are carried out at these points. If, for some exceptional reason, a vessel is unable to sail to one of these harbours it shall be directed to the nearest Harbourmaster’s Office. Owners of vessels that have arrived in Croatia by land must also call in to the Harbourmaster’s Office before their vessel is launched to sea where, with the necessary documentation a vignette is purchased providing permission to sail.
The skipper of the vessel must be in possession of evidence on competency regarding the operation of the vessel which is in accordance with national regulations of the country under whose flag it is sailing or in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Croatia.
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