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By No owner — last modified Jul 01, 2014 04:30 PM

 Greece - Formalities

Clearance

The Greek courtesy flag must be flown and also it should be in good condition, as torn or frayed flags are regarded as a sign of disrespect.

As Greece is a member of the European Union, formalities for EU vessels and nationals should be simple, although this does not always appear to be the case.

Port Police (PP, more correctly called "Hellenic Coast Guard") will want to see the yacht registration certificate, the Greek language certificate of third party insurance (see documents below with revised limits), and they will ask for a crew list with passport numbers and birth dates. Very rarely, other certificates (competence or radio) may be asked for (again see documents below). If you have a DEKPA from a previous visit, they will record your entry into the country.

With the introduction of Law 4256 which came into effect on 14 April 2014 PP permission is no longer needed (a) when arriving in harbour (b) to haul out (c) to re-launch (d) to leave harbour (e) to change crew lists.

Update May 2014: New Greek Tax (TPP)
The "Special Tax" suggested in 2010 for larger boats (motor over 10m, or sail over 15m) has now been abandoned in favour of a tax payable by all boats over 7m afloat in Greek waters, irrespective of how short a time they actually spend there.

This new tax was due to be implemented from 1st January 2014, however this has been delayed until the system is up and running properly. The Cruising Association are in direct contact with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Aegean who are responsible for implementing this tax. The CA have been seeking a number of concessions and the latest situation can be seen at their website cruising.org.uk/news/greektax. Currently (June 2014) The Ministry of Maritime have still not decided when they are going to start enforcing the new cruising tax.

EU Boats

For EU boats over 10m, a DEKPA must be purchased from the PP (these are the Greek initials for a "Cruising Bulletin" or "Private Pleasure Boat Maritime Traffic Document"). The DEKPA is an official log of entry and exit from ports and remains permanently valid for that boat. While the boat stays in Greece, the DEKPA only has to be presented to PP once a year. You have permission to keep the yacht (but not necessarily yourselves) in the country indefinitely.

EU boats under 10m will be asked to pay harbour fees, but do not need a DEKPA.

Non-EU boats with a non-EU skipper

Formalities for non-EU vessels can be just as complicated as before and so the entire procedure is described below, even if in practice this may not be strictly adhered to by local officials.

On arrival in Greece, clear with Immigration, Health and Customs (in that order).

At Customs non-EU boats are issued with a transit document (transit log) instead of a DEKPA, valid for six months, but extendable up to 18 months. Note: This time permitted by Customs if for the boat, not for the crew (where visa rules apply). It is likely the boat can stay longer in Greece than the crew are permitted under Immigration laws.

The Tranist Log is a permit to cruise and costs between 30 and 80 Euros depending on where you clear in. It is completed in Greek and English with details of the yacht, crew, fuel and other provisions. The log must be produced when requested and must also record any crew changes.It must be surrendered to Customs on leaving Greek waters.

All boats must then visit the PP.

After each three months in the country (90 days), non-EU boats become liable to pay 'cruising tax' charged by length and beam. Not all ports charge this, but missing this payment risks a fine. Storage ashore does not postpone cruising tax liability.

Non-EU Boats with an EU skipper
Such boats are issued with a transit log for one month only after which time they must leave Greece or pay VAT.

Notes

Fees charged and regulations enforced are inconsistent throughout Greece, often common in countries that are so wide spread with a multitude of islands and regions. Where reported, noonsite has made a note under ports that are reported to be expensive or difficult.

Port Police (PP, more correctly called "Hellenic Coast Guard") throughout Greece have been told of the new procedures, but in June some were still ignoring instructions and clinging to old procedures (visits every 30 days).

According to a ministerial directive which came into effect in September 2007, every boat over 7metres that enters Greece and is not permanently moored in the country, is obliged to pay a fee of 15€ each time they enter the country to the PP. The relative directive is valid all over Greece, however noonsite has only heard of Gouvia, Corfu charging this "cruising permit" fee in 2013. It is also doubtful as to whether this fee is still in force as many of the recreational boat charges levied by Greece have been revoked over the last few years in an effort to increase tourism.

If wishing to spend a night away from the boat (on land), then the PP should be informed.

Note that the Greek Coast Guard does not monitor or call on VHF Ch 16. If you require assistance you must call them on Ch 12. Monitor Ch 12 on entering a port in case the port police wish to call you.

Always check in and out at a Greek port if there is a Coast Guard/PP office (even if the dock guys say it is not necessary).

Be patient and smile!

Last updated June 2014.

Immigration

Greece is a member of the Schengen Agreement Area. See Noonsite' Schengen page for more details on the immigration rules.

Extensions of visas for non-EU nationals may be obtained from the nearest police station or Aliens Department, Leoforos Alexandros 173, Athens. Only one such extension is allowed.

Entry may be refused if there are Turkish Cyprus stamps in the passport.

Individual passports are not stamped on entry into Greece by yacht, nor is this required for departure with the same yacht. However, if leaving by another means, these stamps are required by Immigration at the point of exit.

It may be advisable also for non-EU passport holders to insist on having a passport stamped on entry (even if planning to leave the country by yacht) as some officials will want to see a stamp.

If you overstay your visa, you will be fined (usually double the cost of an extension). Officials are vigilant over applying this, unless you have been immobilized is hospital, for example.

For immigration control, boats should carry an up to date crew list with passport or ID numbers, to be shown on request. There is no need to have this authenticated.

Last updated May 2014.

Customs

Firearms must be declared and will be sealed in a safe area on board.

Foreign yachts can buy fuel at duty-free prices, which must be arranged through customs. Stations that sell fuel for foreign yachts are marked by blue and yellow diagonal stripes on the quay.

EU regulations apply concerning temporary importation. See EU VAT page for more information.

For non-EU boats the Transit Log is suposed to have an inventory attached - quote from the Greek regulation - "Into the Transit Log must be entered, large portable items of a certain value such as electrical appliances, scuba diving gear etc. so that these can be re-exported once more, otherwise these must be cleared. Customs privileges only apply to equipment that is permanently installed on the craft and is necessary for the navigation and safety of the craft, as well as all crew and passengers personal belongings."

If VAT has been paid on a non-EU boat, then a permanent Transit Log will be issued.

Products of animal origin, not originating from an EU member state, Andorra, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino or Switzerland, are not permitted to be imported into an EU Member state.

It is strictly forbidden to remove antiquities and art objects from Greece without a special permit.

Last updated November 2013.

Health

No special medications or immunizations are necessary for travel to Greece, but do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected.

Greece has a national health care system which is inexpensive and readily available. There are three kinds of medical facilities: The large cities have the largest and best equipped hospitals, while smaller city hospitals are adequate for emergency situations. Smaller towns and villages have medical centres adequate for advice and first aid in case of emergencies. If you do not have insurance, you can get examined at any hospital for about $2, and get first aid attention.

Pharmacies in Greece are also able to provide first aid for simple matters, and can give competent advice. They are identified by the "Green Cross" emblem and are open during normal business hours (8:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM). Most staff speak English, and the medicines are normal European quality.

Useful emergency telephone numbers:-
24hr pharmacies 107
Hospitals 106
Emergency doctor (2pm to 7am) 105/107
Ambulance 166

Greek Authorities are rigorously applying entry regulations due to Avian Flu. Incoming yachts should call Port Authority on VHC Ch12 advising ETA. Fly the "Q" flag and do not go ashore until Port Authorities have been aboard.

Infestation by rats can be a problem in some harbours and appropriate precautions should be taken on the mooring and anchoring warps.

Documents

Yachts must carry their original registration document and ship's radio licence. One member of the crew must have a radio operator’s certificate of competence.

The original insurance certificate must be carried and a Greek translation showing third party insurance with the amounts in figures. The minimum amounts (revised April 2014) are 500,000 euro liability for death or injury by sinking, collision or other cause for crew and third parties; 150,000 euro for damage and 150,000 euro for pollution. It should be noted that if a boat is owned by a company or corporation, it will cause fewer difficulties with the authorities if the name of the company is the same as that of the boat (or nearly so).

The skipper must have an International Certificate of Competence (ICC). Cruisers report in 2013 that Greek authorities (especially in the south) were asking for the ICC.

EU Boats - VAT

For EU boats, proof of VAT status is also required. See EU VAT for the rules on Temporary Importation (TI) for non-EU boats.

EU Boats - DEKPA
All EU boats over 10m must purchase a Traffic Document (DEKPA). The DEKPA is an official log of entry and exit from ports and remains permanently valid for that boat. While the boat stays in Greece, the DEKPA only has to be presented to PP once a year.

It is not uncommon for no DEKPA forms to be available. In this case, get your crew list stamped and the lack of DEKPA forms noted upon it.

Non-EU Registered Boats - Transit Log

A Transit Document (Log) is issued at the first port of clearance and is valid for six months, but extendable up to 18 months. This is a permit to cruise and there is no charge. It is completed in Greek and English with details of the yacht, crew, fuel and other provisions. The log must be produced when requested and must also record any crew changes.The yacht may remain in Greece for as long as the log is valid. It must be surrendered to Customs on leaving Greek waters.

Crew and passengers on board a yacht are considered by the authorities to be in transit, and the transit log only authorises day visits inland, the nights being presumed to be spent on board. The Port Police and Immigration should be notified if travelling away from the yacht overnight or if an individual leaves Greece by other means such as by air. These changes have to be noted in the transit log and entry and exit stamps put into the passport.

Note: Channel Island yachts are classed as non-EU. See report here for more details.

See Fees for the charges for the various documents.

NOTE: Not all all officals in all Greek ports (expecially the smaller, more remote ones) are fully aware of the correct documents required, but failure to have the proper documents can involve heavy fines at a later stage.

Last updated May 2014.

Fees

EU Boats

Traffic Document (DEKPA): Applicable to all EU boats over 10 metres. Valid for one year. Previously this cost 30 Euros to the tax office, but since the introduction of the new relaxed laws cruisers have reported not having to pay anything for the DEKPA.

Non-EU Boats

Transit Log: Issued for 6 months and can be extended for up to 18 months: 30-80 Euros.

All Boats

Cruising Tax Charge (replacing the Cruising Permit): 15 euro per metre, charged for each period of 3 months spent in Greek waters (about €200 for a 12m yacht). Payable at the end of each 90 day period and not payable if departing before 90 days. Missing this payment risks a fine. If your yacht is on the hard, this tax is still payable, so be sure to make arrangements for payment during your absence.

New Cruising Tax - from 1st January 2014
See the Cruising Assocation website - http://cruising.org.uk/news/greektax - for the latest confirmed fees and associated information. As of June 2014 this new tax was still not being charged.

Other charges are sometimes applied:-

All public harbours now charge a mooring or anchoring fee based on the tonnage and length of the boat which in general amounts to 6 Euros for 11m. Boats from EU countries pay lower fees than those from non-EU countries, while Greek flagged boats pay even less.

A lower fee is charged for anchoring. In most ports these fees are charged even if stopping for provisions only, or even to buy fuel.

Re-launching fee of 7.34 Euro.

A fee is charged by customs for each fuel delivery.

Interpretation of these rules is very likely to vary from port to port, and even from official to official, within the various authorities involved. See Diederik Willemsen website for another opinion.

For the inexperienced Greek Islands sailor it can be a little confusing sometimes as (usually depending on the size of the island) the collection of port fees and/or mooring fees seems to be a little bit of a hit and miss affair.

Last updated June 2014.

Restrictions

Anchoring Restrictions
Restrictions on where you can anchor in Greece relate to a “default” EU Law which forbids anchoring or manoeuvring under engine within 500m (can be 1,000m) of the "shore"/"beach"/"swimming area" unless there is a swimming area marked out off the beach. See report for more details.

Seaworthiness (Mechanical Failure/Grounding)
If any vessel, Greek or otherwise, reports any sort of a problem to the port authorities, which could possibly affect there seaworthiness, (grounding or mechanical failure etc.),  the port police will then require that they have a surveyor's report to say the vessel is seaworthy before it is allowed to leave the harbour.  This will be rigidly enforced, especially if the vessel has required assistance or is unable to moor correctly in the harbour, ie alongside, stern to etc. Unless there is a danger ot life, it is best not to involve the port police unless absolutely necessary (they will appreciate this also).  In some minor cases, the authorities may accept a report from the breakdown service used (if it is reputable), but more commonly they require a report from a ministry approved surveyor. This can be expensive, usually €350 or more plus expenses for a small leisure yacht.

Fishing and Diving
Fishing is forbidden with scuba gear and is only permitted with a snorkel in undeveloped areas. If you happen to be scuba diving and any form of fishing gear is found on your boat, it is most likely you will be arrested and the boat impounded.

Scuba diving is restricted in Greece. Permission should be sought locally before diving.

Licenses are no longer required if fishing from a boat.

Chartering

With the introduction of Law 4256 which came into effect on 14 April 2014, chartering regulations in Greece have been made much more favourable for foreign yachts. See details here.

Because the registered owner of the boat is expected to be on board, if a friend is allowed to use the boat in the owner's absence, a proper document should be prepared, in Greek, stating this. Non-EU boats may only be sailed by the owner(s).

Drinking and Driving
It is forbidden to handle a boat under the influence of alcohol. The Greek Port Police may alcohol-test skippers on small boats and yachts.

Last updated May 2014.

Pets

Cats and dogs require health and rabies inoculation certificates issued in the country of origin, not more than 12 months previously for dogs, six months for cats, and not less than six days before arrival. Birds also need a health certificate.

Greece accepts pets covered by the PETS Scheme (Pet Travel Scheme) with current Pet Passport.

Share |
Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Jan 14, 2014 09:56 AM

We entered Greece on our boat at Samos in 2013 and got our 90 day visas for US citizens. But the customs official was explicit that we now had 6 months in Greece. So we stayed for 4 months and ran into trouble in Mitilini on Lesvos when checking out. They said we overstayed for one month and the fine was 600 Euros per person, paid then or when we next re-entered Greece in the next four years. We suspect the customs official might have been referring to the boat having 6 months, but we are not sure. This was a bittersweet ending to a grand circumnavigation of the northern Aegean Sea.

Michael A. Lutz

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Jan 14, 2014 10:20 AM

Note that as US citizens, you are only permitted to stay in the whole of the Schengen Area (which includes Greece) for a total of 90 days in a six month period. As you discovered, over-stays incur substantial penalties and will also affect any subsequent visit to a Schengen Area country.

A non-EU boat can remain in the EU for 18 months before having to leave (or officially import the boat). A short, documented visit to a non-EU country will ‘re-set the clock’ for another 18 months.

The 6 months refered to by the Greek Customs official, is the initial Transit Document (log/cruising permit) issued at the first port of entry and only applies to Greece. It is extendable to 18 months.

The Noonsite Team

ray fuller
ray fuller says:
Apr 04, 2014 11:30 AM

April 2014.
We were launched on Tuesday 1st April from Cleopatra MArina.
We visited the Port Police as required. Our papers were duly inspected and stamped, end of story. No money was requested or changed hands.
It would seem that this CRUISING TAX that we have all spent the winter worrying about is not going to happen this year, if at all.
The problem seems t be that it is uncontrollable and un enforcable at the moment.
The rumor is that the Port Police have refused to become involved with collection.
This is our personal experience so far, and is also confirmed by talking to numerous locals who are like us not in favor of this ill thought out scheme.

Ray & Mandy
SY Josephine.
Levkada

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 15, 2014 03:11 PM

Posted on behalf of Michael Lutz - Catamaran Swanie
Many cruisers have heard of the new Greek Cruising Permit for non-EU citizens. For our boat it would have cost about 400 Euros for 3 months. We just entered Greece the end of April, 2014 and no mention was made of this permit. Remember that every port of entry and every officer is different, but clearly this requirement is not uniformly enforced at this time.

Stephanielee
Stephanielee says:
Jun 04, 2014 04:18 PM

We are an Austalian registered yacht and entered Sami in May 2013. We wintered the boat in Levkas and on returning in May 2014 we went to collect our transit log at the Port office. They required us to pay the cruising tax of 945 euros. We paid this in cash at the local tax office. I think this is for the past 6 months and the next 6 months. I am not entirely clear exactly which period we have paid for. So it seems it is a requirement depending where you are and at what office you go into! Stephanie James

DIMANT
DIMANT says:
Jun 04, 2014 08:43 PM

The law has been changed since 2012.First of all the invoice should be given by the Customs office since the flag in non an EU country.If you had stayed in Greece for the last 9 months and you have paid the tax then you don't pay a new tax. Can you please tell me the ship's length in order to find out the right amount of money you have to pay? And furthermore I need to know when you entered the Hellenic seas for the first time.

Thanks

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 20, 2014 01:55 PM

On behalf of Stephanielee;
We received a receipt for the 945 euros. We are 13.1 metres and we entered Greece May 15th 2013. The boat has been out of the water for the past 10 months.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 26, 2014 03:33 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Funny Girl: 12 June, 2014
We are back at our yacht (Funny Girl), for the summer in Greece.
We had our boat wintering at Aktio marina, very close to Preveza, at their drystanding. It is, for us, a very good place, also you can sand your boat etc. and every boat has his own electricity and water connection.
Hauling in and out of the water goes quick and professional and at the time you want.
Then we went to the port authority, we get a friendly explanation that our insurance needs to be updated to the latest Greek insurance law (Greek law 4256/14). The lady officer let us go but we had to promise that we should contact our insurance company about this. The lady also told us that maybe another port station could make (more) trouble about this.
Then the famous DEPKA form, she gaves us two stamps, one for the fact that we landed in the water this Tuesday and another one with a validity for a whole year, and....... we have for this whole year never to go to a port police station or other authorities.
At my question what to pay, she said "you do not have to pay anything". The next question from me was..no tax for boats?? she replies "no NOTHING".
This all was in a friendly atmosphere.
Peter Terhaar
sy / Funny Girl
Jeanneau Sun Oddysey (Dutch flag)

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 30, 2014 04:07 PM

Re. the Stephanielee posting above and payment of a 945 euro tax.
Similar incidents reported this year have shown that the boat had paid a backlog of non-EU boat cruising tax (old style). That tax will be replaced by the new tax as and when it is introduced. The Ministry of Maritime have still not decided when they are going to start enforcing the new cruising tax. Keep up to date on this new tax at www.cruising.org.uk/news/greektax

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 01, 2014 04:30 PM

Posted on behalf of Bruce Hops:
We are at present in Galaxidhi and have discovered that the DEKPA has been (re) introduced for all boats above 7 meters. The 10 meter rule hasbeen cancelled. We sail a 31ft. sloop - DEKPA price €29,35. The port seems much more busy than in the past.

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Cruising North From Port Said (11 Dec 2004)

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Idyllic Greece (09 Mar 2003)

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