Sailing in Croatia - The Ultimate Guide

Croatia is a country of many great sailing opportunities. Known for its interesting shoreline, countless islands and the warm Adriatic Sea, Croatia is fast becoming one of the most prestigious sailing destinations. Still, before embarking on a relaxing cruise in Croatian waters, there are some things you should know. We bring you some essential information on customs, required fees and weather information.

WEATHER INFORMATION

Generally speaking, it’s not very hard to find weather related information in Croatia; forecasts are available up to the next 96 hours. Weather forecasts are broadcasted in Croatian, German, Italian and English, usually every fifteen minutes. The broadcast is updated three times a day: at 7:00, 13:00 and 19:00. The forecast includes information for the following day. The broadcast frequencies are:

VHF channel 73 – north Adriatic and the west coast of Istria
VHF channel 69 – north Adriatic
VHF channel 67 – central Adriatic
VHF channel 73 – south Adriatic

Additional radio stations broadcasting information about weather include:
Radio Rijeka – VHF channel 04,20,24,81 – time: 5.35, 14.35, 19.35
Radio Split – VHF channel 21,07,81,23, - time: 5.45, 12.45, 19.45
Radio Dubrovnik – VHF channel 04, 07 – time: 6.25, 13.20, 21.20

Weather related information can also be retrieved at the harbor master’s office and the reception of virtually all marinas, as well as the website of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service.

TAXES AND FEES

After Croatia became an EU member in 2013, taxes regarding sailing and yacht changed. In 2014, a Navigation, Safety and Pollution Fee was imposed, replacing the more expensive vignettes. All foreign yachts must pay the new fee at their port of entry; the payment is valid the whole calendar year. Once this fee is paid, a yacht is free to sail the entire coast, even the areas which were previously prohibited (Vis for example), although the Brioni archipelago require additional (and substantial) payment. The crew list, the skipper’s certificate, boat registration data and the insurance certificate are all needed when paying the fee; you can also be asked for VAT proof of payment and proof of ownership of the yacht (or the documents stating you were allowed to use the vessel).

The fee is paid in Croatian Kuna (HRK) and is calculated by using the formula <20 L x> +<2 P x>. L stands for the vessel’s length in meters and P stands for the power of its engine in kilowatts). This means the owners of an average 11 meter yacht will have to pay 275 Kuna; if you own a 15 meter yacht the fee will be 390 Kuna; although the fee may vary depending on the power of the engine. Vessels which are over 40 meters in length or have over 3000 kilowatts of engine power must pay a flat fee of 7500 Kuna. If the vessel will remain in the country, the fee the owner must pay will decrease by ten percent each subsequent year.

Mooring costs are not low: the popular marinas and harbors often charge more than a hundred Euros for an average 13 - 15 meter yacht. The most expensive anchorages are the one close to popular tourist town; they charge about 50 per cent of the price of berthing at the quays in nearby harbors.

Besides the Navigation, Safety and Pollution Prevention Fee, all visitors are required to pay the daily tourist tax, or the so called sojourn tax. The tax is calculated according to the size of the vessel and the time period it’s supposed to stay in Croatian waters. The tax can be paid for periods of eight, fifteen, thirty or ninety days, as well as for the whole year. Owners of typical 12 – 15 meter yachts will have to pay 300 Kuna for eight days or 1300 Kuna for the whole year. If the sojourn is not paid on entry, owners are fined; fines range from 1000 to 5000 Kuna.

CUSTOMS

Yachts from abroad can clear at the following harbors: Poreč, Rovinj, Pula, Rijeka, Raša, Mali Lošinj, Šibenik, Zadar, Split, Ploče, Vela Luka, Korčula, Ubli and Dubrovnik. The enumerated harbors are the PERMANENT maritime border crossings.

The SEASONAL maritime border crossings, open from the 1st of April to the 31st of October are: Umag, Novigrad, Božava, Sali, Primošten, Old Town Hvar (Stari grad Hvar), Vis, Komiža, Cavtat.

If the yacht entering the country is not an EU registered vessel, it must fly the Q flag. Its skipper must also report to the local port police for passport control, carrying all crew passports. This is to be done before the visiting the harbor master in order to pay the previously mentioned navigation fee and the sojourn tax. Non EU crews must not leave customs area until all customs and registration procedures are completed. EU yachts, however, need only to report to the harbormaster to pay the required fees. When a yacht departs the country from its port of entry, it must leave Croatian territory as soon as possible.

Most nationals do not require visas for visits which will last less than ninety days; for further details see the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (http://www.mvep.hr/en/). If you do require a visa, it is good to get it in advance. All details about customs including the needed documents and forms can be found at the website of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure (http://www.mppi.hr/default.aspx?id=668). If you plan to bring any pets, especially cats or dogs, you must obtain a veterinary certificate to prove that the animal was vaccinated against rabies; the certificate must not be more than six months old. Furthermore, the animal must have a general health certificate indicating it underwent all other necessary vaccinations. All additional information can be found at the website of the Croatian National Tourist Board (http://croatia.hr/en-GB/Homepage).

The Croatian port authorities are well accustomed to tourists and will provide help if necessary; the same is with the police or any other public service. Sailing is an important part of the country’s tourism and significant efforts are put into making the experience as pleasant as possible.