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By No owner — last modified Oct 04, 2016 01:52 PM

 Croatia - Profile

Facts

  • From Dubrovnik in the south to the Istra peninsula in the north, Croatia has an extensive coastline indented with innumerable bays and there are hundreds of islands that abound in scenic anchorages. More and more mooring buoys are appearing in popular anchorages as local authorities grant more concessions. Whilst this development somewhat kills the charm of anchoring in bays, it does mean that more boats can stay in these bays and safety has improved considerably.
  • The establishment of the Croatian coast as a popular cruising destination in the 1980s seemed threatened by the war which followed the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. After a spate of fighting on the coast, which saw the destruction of parts of Dubrovnik, hostilities continued mostly inland. The Dalmatian islands and most of Northern Croatia were not touched by the war and by the summer of 1999 most damaged buildings as well as the marina in Dubrovnik had been restored.
  • Croatia is one of the prime cruising destinations in the Mediterranean. It is an especially popular destination for Italian motor-boaters, particularly during August, and many marinas are full by mid afternoon.
  • Facilities along the entire Croatian coast are of a very good standard. There are approximately 40 marinas along the coast and as a minimum they have a 10 ton crane and the necessary frame to lift boats up to that weight. There are travelifts with a minimum capacity of 30 tons at Umag, Cres, Sukosan, Hramina, Murter, Bettina, Mali Losinj, Kremik, Vodice and Dubrovnik. The biggest concentration of boatyards is in the Zadar Sibenik area.
  • Croatia is now however becoming one of the more expensive Mediterranean countries to cruise. Not only is the practice of charging for anchoring becoming more prevalent (normally 50% of the docking fee), but a new "Sojourn Tax" was introduced in 2010 in addition to the expensive cruising permit, fees for changing crews and other official fees. There is no official list of ports that charge for anchoring, however noonsite has noted under each port if it is known that charges are made.
  • Fuel and provisions are available in most places. Marine equipment is limited, although Split and Trogir have good chandleries. One should carry all essential spares.
  • Croatia joined the EU on 1July 2013. Immigration rules and permitted length of stay for the boat will then be in line with EU practice. Croatia hopes to be within the Schengen zone by 2015.

Security

April 2016: Security levels at ports raised when cruise ships in dock due to terrorism concerns.
Whilst on the whole most cruise ship docks are seperate from yacht marinas/quays in Croatia, there are some ports where the 2 share the same quay. As the port authority secure the dock whilst the cruise ship is in port, with no prior warning, this can be very inconvenient for yacht crew wishing to get off or on their boat. It is recommended to enquire if berthing at a shared cruise ship dock if/when the next cruise ship is expected, so you can plan accordingly.

Dinghy Thefts

In common with many areas in Europe and elsewhere, dinghy theft can be a problem. Ensure that it is well secured to the boat with chain and lock, lifted out of the water at night and that also the outboard is as difficult to remove as possible.

The latest report (2012) is of a spate of such thefts at Uvala Kanalic, near Pula.

Last updated May 2016.

Weather

On the coast is a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and sunny, dry summers.

Weather Forecast +385 060 520 520

Harbour Masters broadcast a running weather forecast every 15 minutes in Croatian, English, German and Italian as follows :-

PULA       VHF Channel 73      North Adriatic - West coast of Istria
RUEKA      VHF Channel 69      North Adriatic - E port
SIBENIK    VHF Channel 73      Central Adriatic - E port
SPLIT      VHF Channel 67      Central Adriatic - E port
DUBROVNIK  VHF Channel 73      South Adriatic - E port

 

The Hydrological and Meteorological Service broadcasts shipping forecasts via coastguard stations, with 24 hour information about the weather by region, three times a day in Croatian and in English by Radio Rejika, Radio Split and Radio Dubrovnik.

Radio Rijeka broadcasts a UTC forecast at 0535, 1435, 1935 GMT on Ch. 4, 20, 24 and 81.
Radio Split broadcast at 0545, 1245, 1945 GMT on Ch. 7, 21, 23, 28 and 8.
Radio Dubrovnik broadcast at 0625, 1320 and 2120 GMT on Ch. 4, 7 and 85.

Radio and television broadcasts can be picked up in marinas. You can also check the following weather websites:
Hydrological and Meteorological Service - http://meteo.hr
Weather online - http://www.weatheronline.co.uk

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page

Main Ports

The following Ports of Entry are only open from 1 April to 30 October:-

Umag Marina, Cavtat, Novigrad, Kanegra, Sali, Soline, Kremik Marina, Ravni Zakan, Hvar, Vela Luka, Ubli (Lastovo) and Vis.

Northern Islands: Betina (Murter) , Cres , Dugi Otok * , Hramina (Murter) , Jezera (Murter) , Kornat (Kornati Islands) , Mali Losinj (Losinj Island) * , Nerezine (Losinj) , Otok Iz , Piskera (Kornati Islands) , Prvic , Punat (Krk) , Rab Town (Rab) , Silba , Simuni (Pag) , Supetarska Draga (Rab) , Ugljan , Zut (Kornati Islands)

Northern Mainland (N of Trogir & Split): Biograd-na-Moru * , Luka Peles , Marina Agana , Novigrad * , Opatija , Pomer , Porec * , Primosten * , Pula * , Rijeka * , Rogoznica , Rovinj * , Senj * , Sibenik * , Skradin , Sukosan , Trget (River Rasa) , Umag * , Vodice and Tribunj , Vrsar , Zadar *

Southern Islands: Veli Iz , Brac , Clovo , Elaphite Islands , Hvar Island * , Komiza (Vis) * , Korcula * , Polace (Mljet) , Solta , Vis Port (Vis) *

Southern Mainland (Trogir and southwards): Baska Voda , Cavtat * , Dubrovnik * , Kastelanski Zaljev , Makarska , Orebic , Ploce * , Podgora , Split * , Ston , Trogir , Trpanj , Tucepi

* indicates port of entry

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svgoldenglow
svgoldenglow says:
Oct 02, 2016 12:10 PM

We checked in and out of Croatia through Cavtat. Officials were very cordial. The night we arrived, it was evening and although port police was open, the immigration office was closed. We had anchored in the bay just north of the bay where immigration has its quay because the quay was full with other boats. Port police asked us to return to their bay, but we explained that we were securely anchored in the adjacent bay, and that reanchoring in the unfamiliar harbor (where winds were picking up) after dark put us at risk. They said "in that case, be sure you are on the dock here before immigration opens in the morning" - 8am. We sailed over at first light, brought our boat to the quay, and were waiting at immigration when they opened and all was fine.
Note, weather and winds can whip up fast and furiously in these bays. We saw it go from no wind to 35+ knots - with boats dragging anchor - in a heartbeat!

Paolo
Paolo says:
Aug 05, 2016 08:38 AM

If you are heading to old town Dubrovnik and want to spend the night out at anchor in the harbour just out of the old walls, you will be asked for a 4Euros per meter fee by the Port Authority dinghy coming to collect the fee in the morning.

Also be aware that the Island of Lokrum, right in front of the old town, is a UNESCO site and unfriendly rangers will not allow you on the island before 0915 am. Besides that also note that if you are using the Imray Pilot Book by Trevor and Dyna Thompson you will be misled: the book states that u can anchor with a line ashore in Uvala Portoc, but this is false as a ranger will come by and force you to release the line.
Actually anywhere on Lokrum lines ashore are not allowed.

Waynew
Waynew says:
Jul 29, 2016 01:07 PM

We had read many negative comments about cruising in Croatia but we thought we would give it a try this season.We checked in a Cavtat, checked out at Rovinj for a week long visit to Venice and checked back into Croatia in Novigrad and we must say we didn't have any issues with either the Port Police or Harbour masters. On the contrary we found them to be helpful and fairly efficient. So we have no complaints. We have found there are probably too many mooring fields where you need to pay if staying overnight and the charges in the national parks could be higher than other countries but on the other hand they are cheaper than Sardinia and the marinas are generally cheaper than the west coast of Italy and Sicily.The costs to enter Croatia are easily found on the web and it you consider the cruising permit costs too high then don't come. We have found the cruising areas in Croatia to be very good with lots of free, calm anchorages with clear water.

waynedchill
waynedchill says:
Jul 18, 2016 07:36 PM

We needed an unexpected crown repair to a molar and it has been an unexpected highlight of our sailing visit to Croatia! We were worried our dream holiday was going to get painful! We recommend http://www.dubrovnikdental.com/dubrovnikdental_lounge_jurisic.html
The staff are wonderful, the technology is amazing, and Dr Dubravko Jurisic has a great personal style and a brilliant pair of hands!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 03, 2016 08:51 PM

Further info. on Port Police fines:
One has sixteen days to pay any fines issued. It is unlikely the Port Police will tell you this, and they may even offer to take you to the bank in a police car to pay the fine.

afclewis
afclewis says:
Dec 10, 2015 02:37 PM

My wife and I spent a couple of weeks cruising Croatia this summer, our experience wasn't much different to the above. The Croatian police used our AIS information to show that we had arrived at 0650 and then didn't check in for a couple of hours, consequently they fined us, you can find the whole story here......http://goo.gl/s3vRGw (not sure if I can post a link), needless to say, they were rude, unhelpful and mostly keen to make some cash from a fine. It's a lovely country with some lovely quiet islands, but the attitude of the authorities was terrible! So in summary, the cruising permit is expensive, the Sojourn tax is expensive, the marinas are expensive, you get charged for anchoring if you are within 150 meters of a mooring field and the authorities are horrible. It's a good job the islands are beautiful!!

Fabian
Fabian says:
Nov 03, 2015 07:07 PM

I must add some words to my comment, as it might be misunderstood.
Croatia is beautiful & and it has very nice people. I guess somewhen after the Balkan war in the 1990's Croatia realized, that tourism, nautic tourism, is the backbone of it's economy. I think it was a well calculated decision to improve this. The decision was right. Charter boats bring a lot of money. If you have a Megayacht you are very welcome too, not only because you have money, but Megayachts are an important part of the pretty scenery for all other tourists, that spend 2 or 3 wonderful weeks in summer there. This is, in my opinion, fully all right.
But it is not what a crusing or a bluewater sailor expects. And these sailors does Croatia not expect, too. On a 42ft boat you usually sail with 2 to max 4 persons. A charter boat at that size captures up to 8, eight persons that eat and drink every day in restaurants, pay at anchoring and so on. I can understand this from the economic point of view.
This, of course, is no reason for the officials at harbours or clear in / out to behave like they often do.
Kind regards.

Fabian
Fabian says:
Oct 19, 2015 02:28 PM

I sailed several years in Croatia and I have to admit, that the landscape & islands are really lovely. But I have to agree with what Manana and Sue reprort...
Prices for annual berthing went up 20-30% (!) each year and so did everything else in the costal region. I encountered often the same with officials, I met nice ones too, but very rare. One has to understand, that if you do not give them the feeling to subdue the get very angry and a harmless situation gets out of control quickly.
I decided to leave, when I had to pay for being on anchor in Vis, but not in the main harbour are, but a little bay offside - in late October! They even did not take the garbage with them, and when I asked for document the 2 men became angry and yes, I was scared and my only goal was to avoid troubles.
Although I found also some friends there, of course, and I know some good service people there, I will not return. Once in Greece or Italy there is no need to return. Everywhere else it's much more professional, helpful, the food is better, the olive oil, the wine and the summers are longer, and there are less overcrowded and loud charterboats anyway.
There's a saying meanwhlie: "In Croatia they take the money before they take your line". To sad. Because the area is so nice.

Manana
Manana says:
Oct 17, 2015 07:35 PM

I had received a lot of adverse reports about cruising Croatia. I thought I would judge for myself. We intended to spend 3 months in Croatia. We bought a 3 month cruising permit at Cavtat. In hindsight the Cavtat clear in was pretty much a summary of our Croatian experience. The officials were unfriendly and unhelpful. Each office including the patrol boat has a big flat screen TV and officials/ border police are glued to the Croatian soaps.
We tied up at the Q dock paid our €15 and got pointed to the building with a flag. Paid another €300 there ( had to go to an ATM to get local currency as they don't take €)After harbourmaster it was then to the immigration and police. Yes same big flat screen TV and unhelpful.
Pretty much wherever you got the marine people will snip you. Whether town quays, mooring balls, marinas, National Parks they all have a lick. It is just uncomfortable at anchorage wondering if someone is going to ask for cash.
The parks definitely charge. Coronation was €70 to drop anchor. The very impressive RIB with a big outboard and guys in nice Embroidered Polo Shirts collect. Eco Warriors, WWF (World Wilflife Fund) have some sort of in sharing arrangement with the fees. There are no mooring balls for the fees so don't know where the cash is spent.
I wouldn't bother going again. There are much nicer places in Greece, Turkey, Malta etc. Friendly as well
In case we didn't get the message that we were are not welcome, when we cleared out I made the decision to wait for a storm to pass through. We left at about 7am the next morning. The police fined us for not leaving directly after clearing out.... We still had a month left on our cruising permit. I explained that as skipper I made the decision to wait for the storm to pass. They said I had broken the law and they had caught me. I transmit AIS continually for safety reasons so obviously I was not hiding my actions. They considered the circumstances and halved the €300 fine. My advice is probably not go to Croatia. If you do then leave yor AIS turned off and you will blend in with the zillion charter boats. If you make the safety decision to wait for a storm to blow over before departing then go west until in international waters before heading south. Predictably the police sit at the Montenegro border... Yes watching their flat screen TVs. The border police probably didn't get the Memo. The War is Over. It is unlikely cruising sailors are going to invade coastal Croatia. Retired cruisers are unlikely to create any major security issue. Spend your €s in Greece. They need the cash, they appreciate the business and they are genuinely friendly and welcoming.
By the way I am a person who NEVER writes complaints about ANYTHING... Until I visited Croatia.

peterb
peterb says:
Apr 09, 2016 01:19 PM

Yes, Croatian boarder authorities could be unfriendly as any other EU boarder authority when you show disrespect. I guess in your own countries you are prized for non following/disobeying border control rules and regulations.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 22, 2015 10:52 PM

Posted on behalf of a regular contributor to noonsite, who prefers to remains anonymous:

We have been cruising Croatia this summer, cleared in and paid all taxes at Cavtat, however, we slipped across to Venice for a forthnight without clearing out thinking nobody would notice, as we were coming back to Croatia and our cruising permit was valid for six months, in anyway, on our return to Croatia we arrived back to Veruda 01.30 and dropped anchor for the night.
We left the anchorage 10.00 on passage south to Mali Losenj, two hours out we were arrested at sea by police patrol boat and ordered back to Pula, fined €1070 for not clearing out (€530 per person on board) they had us tracked by AIS, showed us a photocopy of our track out and back, they check every vessel leaving and entering their territorial waters that comes up on AIS.
I met another skipper who came out of Boka Kator on passage to Italy with four charter clients, he went straight to Vis to clear customs, got fined €2650 for not going to Cavtat, which was his first port of entry, again, the AIS was used as evidence to screw him.
They also watch anchorages close to ports of entry to screw any vessels who may have gone on anchor late at night or stopped off for lunch etc, they are not nice people to deal with.

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