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By No owner — last modified Jul 09, 2018 02:27 PM

 Italy - Formalities



Italy is a member of the European Union and therefore vessels (under 24m) arriving from another EU country, with only EU nationals on board, are not required to complete any formalities.

The formalities described below apply primarily to non-EU boats, although EU boats will have to conform to some of them, such as the requirement to have a valid third party insurance certificate on board. It is therefore recommended that any yacht arriving in Italy from abroad should attempt to do so at a port which has Customs and Immigration offices to which the captain should report on arrival.

General Process:

Officials are very unlikely to come to a yacht, so the captain must report to their offices. Yachts have got into trouble for failing to report to the authorities.

The captain may be asked to show a certificate of competence; other documents needed are the registration certificate and third-party liability insurance. See Documents below for more details.

Customs Office:

Both EU and non-EU boats arriving from a country outside the EU (Tunisia, Albania, Turkey etc.) must contact Customs at the first Italian port. On arrival in a port of entry, boats from non-EU countries must clear with the with Customs.

Immigration Office:

Boats from non-EU countries must clear with Immigration.

Port Captain's Office:

Boats from non-EU countries must clear with the Port Captain.

Domestic Cruising:

It is recommended to monitor VHF channel 16 whilst in Italian waters as occasionally boats may be subjected to spot checks by Customs (Guardia di Finanza), especially in areas known for smuggling.

Due to the situation with regard to the number of migrants and refugees attempting to enter Europe, a number of Schengen Area countries re-introduced border controls at the beginning of 2016. Therefore, it is advisable that cruisers now check with the official authorities when entering or leaving a country.

It is quite possible you will encounter some of these boats if transiting between Italy and North Africa. The Italian Coast Guard transmit notifications on VHF about boats that they know of, their approximate vicinity and number of people on board. If you sight such a vessel, advice is to get in contact with the closest MRCC centre. Get close to the vessel so you can report status etc., but do not attempt to take anybody on board.


International Clearance:

EU Vessels: An EU boat with all EU citizens on board going to another EU country does not need to officially clear out.

If leaving the EU, then the skipper should the check local regulations and, if possible, obtain a 'zarpe' or other official documents, to show that they legally left their previous destination when arriving in a new country. This is normally issued by Customs.

Non-EU Vessels: A non-EU boat leaving the Schengen Area needs to have that recorded with Customs even if moving to another EU country.

Any non-EU crew are advised to report to Immigration. This is especially important if they are leaving the Schengen Area.

Be advised that it might not be easy to obtain a zarpe/departure document or be able to locate the necessary officials.

Last updated:  March 2019


Immigration Procedures:

Passports must be valid for 3 months beyond your intended stay.

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

It has been reported that Italian Immigration Authorities can be difficult if Italy is your first point of entry into the Schengen area, but is not shown as such on your visa.

Other Visa Information:

For details of the visa requirements for those countries outside the EU see the EU website.

Last updated:  March 2019


Arriving by Yacht:

EU regulations apply concerning temporary importation. See EU VAT page for more information (below Schengen information).

Stop and search operations by Italian Police/Customs are not uncommon, and are more likely if a boat does not respond to an initial call on VHF channel 16.

A crackdown on the sellers and buyers of counterfeit items, i.e. purses, sunglasses, watches and belts, bearing luxury labels such as Prada, Gucci, Fendi and many others, now means that criminal charges may be brought against people caught purchasing counterfeit products with fines up to 10,000 Euros.

Other Items:

Firearms must be declared on arrival. The penalty for non-declaration is imprisonment.

Last updated:  March 2019.


Vaccine Preventable Diseases:

Be sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines.

For details of the recommended vaccinations see the CDC Travelers Health Website.

Seafood should not be consumed in areas of heavy pollution.

Last updated:  March 2019


Necessary Documents for Italy:

It is recommended to have both the originals and copies of each:

  • Original registration document.
  • Certificate of Competence.
  • Ship's radio licence (and one member of the crew must have a radio operator’s certificate of competence).
  • Crew list showing surname, forename, date and place of birth, function on board, passport number and nationality.
  • Valid third party Insurance (see details below).
  • For EU boats, proof of VAT status is also required.
  • Identification Document (see details below).

Third Party Insurance:

The proof of insurance requirements are exacting; proof of five million euros third party insurance issued by an insurance company having reciprocal arrangements with a recognised Italian insurance company with an Italian translation, or insurance bought in Italy through an Italian broker.

The document must also record details of any tender/dinghy and the serial number of any outboard motors.

It is illegal for yachts to sail in Italian waters without valid third-party insurance. Yachts which do not have insurance may not be allowed to leave the harbour until they obtain it. Insurance can be obtained locally from an Italian insurance company.

Identification Document:

By law you must be able to show some form of identification at all times. In most cases a photocopy of the data page of your passport should suffice. The police will normally ask for your full passport if you are stopped while driving.

Last updated:  March 2019



Underwater fishing with scuba gear is prohibited. Anche spearfishing is prohibited for anyone under 16 years old, within 1,640 ft (500 m) of a beach or of a fishing boat at anchor. When underwater, the presence of the diver must be shown by a float with a red flag and yellow diagonal stripe.


It is illegal for foreign yachts to charter in Italy. However, if one arrives with a charter party from abroad, one can obtain the base cost in the usual way. Neither the crew nor the charter party may be changed while in Italian waters.

Straits of Messina:

If transiting the Strait of Messina, be sure to contact the Authorities prior to transit to advise them of your movements. Boats have reported being stopped by the coastguard, in particular when trying to cross the VTS, and fined for not giving advance notification. See this report for more details.
Read the Messina Strait VTS User Manual for more details.


Anchoring is not permitted in the Strait of Messina. If anchoring in case of emergency, be sure to report where you are anchored to avoid large fines.

There are Anchoring Restrictions all around the Italian coast. There is no anchoring within 200m of a beach or within 100m of the coast elsewhere. See this report for more details.

Marine Protected Areas:

Italy has 30 protected marine areas of environmental interest. See the website for details on all the areas (in English) with links to the rules for each area. Some zones don't permit yachts, anchoring, scuba, swimming or watersports, other zones are more accommodating.

Last updated:  March 2019

Local Customs

In some towns or cities it is an offense to sit on monument steps or to eat and drink in the immediate vicinity of main churches and public buildings.

Don’t buy from illegal street traders. You could be stopped by the local police and fined.

Clearance Agents

Intersea Ship And Yacht Agency
Via Del Porto 63 - 07028 , S. Teresa Gallura , Sardinia
Tel:+39 0789 1833022 ,VHF Channel 12
Opening hours: 24 hour operation
A yacht agent service providing assistance with arrival and departure clearance, marine park permits for Maddalena Archipelago, and various other general services as well as dealing in marine supplies and life raft servicing.
Oliver Yacht Services
OIbia, Sardinia
Tel:+39 388 783 9094 Fax:+39 388 22679
Yacht agent services including clearance & formalities, provisioning, dockside & concierge services. Operate throughout the Costa Smeralda.



If entering from outside the EU and from a country on the 'High risk' list, then a Health Certificate from a veterinarian and other requirements must be complied with.

Other animals must be inspected by a health official on arrival.

Animals are accepted from within the EU and which have an   EU pet Passport.

All cats and dogs must be microchipped.

For additional EU regulations regarding pets coming from some countries, see

Rabies Vaccinations:

All dogs must have an anti-rabies vaccination certificate (dated at least 30 days in advance and for it to have been administered at least 21 days after the microchip was inserted), as specified in the PETS travel scheme.

Rabies vaccinations administered by a veterinary practitioner not authorised by an EU country will render the EU Pet Passport invalid for travel.

Animals under three months old and which have not been vaccinated against rabies are not allowed.

Last updated:  March 2019

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 30, 2019 01:47 PM

Sardinia: Cannigione (NE tip of Sardinia)
Report from Mike Morgan:

On a trip from Spain to Italy in July of last year (2018), our passage took us between Corsica and Sardinia. We took a route south of the Maddalena archipelago heading east and, with some unfavorable forecasts, we decide to seek a refuge from the impending storm. From a brief study of the charts, we decided upon hunkering down in a marina in Cannigione. Cannigione is a small provincial Sardinian town at the base of an inlet, the Gulf of Arzachena, which provided good shelter from all directions.
We took a marina berth for a couple of nights but due to the expense (100 Euros a night) we decided to anchor just off the main beach of the town where we decided to spend the best part of a week (not due to the weather but just the beauty of the place). There was an official anchorage further down past the marina laid with buoys which was crowded and we decided to give it a miss. I don’t understand the herding mentality of cruising folk when just off the town main beach is a great anchorage with very few neighbors.
On the outside of the marina breakwater is a fuel pontoon which is exposed to the chop on a windy day (so I would suggest filling up when conditions are calm). We did experience a katabatic wind one night, but the holding was good in 5m over mud and the sea remained calm even when blowing 25 knots. The anchorage gave easy access to the town and the beach. Given the time of year, our spot was blissfully uncrowded with plenty of places to drop the hook. It is not particularly dinghy friendly on the north side of the town as I guess they want cruisers to stay in the marina or take a mooring buoy. We found a little spot near the main harbor to tie up the dinghy and we never got bothered by any official bureaucrats, even though a sign said no dinghy’s.
At night the town lights made a magical backdrop to a serenely quite spot. Cannigione hosts many bars, a friendly community and a beautiful clean sandy beach. The town also offered many good, but expensive, sea food restaurants and boasts a large supermarket to stock up with essentials. The Maddalena archipelago is just a few miles outside the entrance to the gulf and makes a fantastic day trip and you can stay overnight, but need permits which we did not have time to obtain.
I would recommend a visit if your schedule permits and you are in the area. A little sheltered gem away from the madness of crowded anchorages.

bsadler says:
Aug 23, 2018 03:21 PM

Marina di Camerota, Camerota, Campagna – a small marina with large prices. €125/night for a 13m sailboat plus €5 for electricity plus €3 for a shower (and the facilities have restricted hours). The small town has no more or less to recommend it that any other small town in the region. Basically a rip-off. Anchoring outside the harbour (i.e. immediately East) is an economic option.

Fabian says:
Mar 15, 2018 05:40 AM

Hi, I like to make a suggestion. Italy is a really large area and most of you know the books of Rod Heikell, which are quite nice. But I am afraid, they are not updated anymore in a real permanent way and some informations seem to be a little out of time, sometimes. Anyway they are good for checking back other informations. I turned to use the the Italian "Pagine Azzurre", which is a real good work, with all necessary informations and no private oppinions (which I like). You can buy it nearly everywhere. It's not expensive and it has all ports in it. And it's online available too. - It is in Italian only, but in times of online translators even this is no problem and while planing your trip you'll learn some words Italian, which is more than helpful, as Italians are very happy, when your just try to speak their language, no matter how good! Have a safe journey!

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Feb 14, 2018 12:50 PM

Posted on behalf of Jan Harzem

Immigrants at sea
Due to the issue of immigrants trying to get to Spain from North Africa, you will no doubt encounter some of their boats, as we did. Spanish coast guard will put out notifications on VHF about boats that they know of, their approximate vicinity and no. of people on board. My advice is as follows:
When you spot such a vessel, get in contact with the closest MRCC center in Spain or Italy. Get close to the vessel so you can report status etc., but do not attempt to take anybody onboard. Some of these boats have 28 people or more on board. In these areas help is only a couple of hours away. We spotted a small boat about 60 miles south of Carthagena and changed course 90 depree's to investigate. Within 3 minutes we were called up by MRCC Carthagena asking us to help in the search of a vessel with 8 people on board. We followed the small boat for a couple of hours until dusk, but never caught up with the boat as they were going as fast as we were, but gave course and heading to the Spanish Coast Guard who picked them up a couple of hours later.

vtomanov says:
May 25, 2017 02:08 PM

I'm investigating different options for my trip from France to Greece and looking for suggestions for:
1. place/marina/mooring around Genoa/Italy to leave my sailing boat (9.98x3.5m 2m draft) from 11 Jul to 20 Jul.
2. place/marina/mooring around Naples/Italy to leave my sailing boat (9.98x3.5m 2m draft) for a week from 12th August.

inlu says:
May 09, 2017 05:31 PM

Warning for the marina Fossa de Gallo. Extremely boring marina with a 1 km walk to the nearest village. Expensive and you get nothing but a berth. They charged us 70 euros in early May.

Boatnotes says:
Mar 03, 2017 12:14 PM

We arrived from Corfu, first port of call was Le Castella, a very sleep little fishing town with a fort worth visiting. We couldn't reach anyone at the marina so we went inside the fishing port and moored alongside for one night. The fishermen said it was ok. We found one pizza place open and had the best pizza and calzone for around €5 each!!

Jac says:
Jun 27, 2018 12:41 PM

I'm Australian and sail Med every summer. Last yr Greece to Italy & Sicily. I would not recommend cruising much of Italian coast. Few anchorages & marinas expensive. This year we are in Sardinia and Corsica. Highly recommend Sardinia especially the north coast and Maddalena archipelago. Beautiful cruising islands, crystal clear over sand. Bonifacio on south Corsica stunning harbour & ancient town. They have charter fleets. north coast Sardinia is spitting distance to south coast Corsica.

PetrLaska says:
Mar 03, 2018 02:17 PM

Hi Dave, try Croatia for sailing, much more interesting for family sailing with children, 1000s of islands, 1000s of gulfs or ports, lot of possibilities to enjoy summer vacations with boat in Europe. Not so hard like the west side of Italy, very easy to navigate. I'll be happy to help you. If you want, of course.

DaveB says:
Oct 31, 2017 09:20 AM

Hi Armando, Thanks for your kind offer of help. Our family (wife,myself and 3 teenage kids)from Australia are planning a 1 month holiday in Italy in September/October next year. We would like to include a week chartering a sailing boat. Can you recommend a nice area? Sardinia looks good but have read that winds can be a bit strong at that time of year. Would welcome your comments. Ciao David

Armando Addati
Armando Addati says:
Jan 11, 2016 07:14 PM

I am available for any information regarding cruising in Italy, specially on the warnings and advices. In particular I can help you if you are cruising on: Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Rome, Calabria, Rocella Ionica. Please do not hesitate to ask I'll be happy to help you. You find my contact information in my profile. Armando

Jac says:
Jun 27, 2018 12:45 PM

There is a wreck with a pink dotted line around at that lat lon clearly marked on Navionics. There is also a rock showing at 38° 11.153'N, 012° 44.297'E, also surrounded by a pink dotted line.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 24, 2014 11:24 AM

Posted on behalf of Nico Cortlever:
Capo San Vito:
During our approach of the harbour we hit an object in 13 m deep water. The depth of this object is approx 3 m. It can be a rock or a wreck. It is not on any of the electronic maps. The location of the object is approx. 38 11.19 N 012 44.19 W. Stay away from this area!
The anchorage north of the harbour is excellent in strong westerlies.

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