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Simi Harbour: Docking System Explained

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 13, 2015 03:02 PM

Published: 2013-02-18 05:25:00
Countries: Greece

Posted February 2013
Symi Harbour: Charges Explained

I feel compelled to write to correct a misconception in the below posting.

The charges for "catching the lines" are not for the "boatmen". These people represent the harbour authorities (the Harbour Master, if you will) and are legally collecting the overnight mooring fee due in every harbour in Greece (although not always collected). They are acting under the authority of the Harbour Master and they ARE responsible for the allocation of spaces.

Anyone visiting Symi on a regular basis will be well aware of the system for space in the harbour. The large motor boats and Turkish gulets are placed towards to harbour entrance; sailing boats and smaller motor boats are placed at the other end. There is a system and the "boatmen" try to ensure it is adhered to.

The monies levied by the Port Police are a completely different and independent charge which help towards the cost of policing the Greek waters and keeping the port safe; It is not the charge for using the harbour overnight.

There is nothing illegal or underhanded going on here. No matter where you moor in Symi, or indeed in other Greek harbours, you generally be charged an overnight fee. It makes no difference if there was lots of space, or if you refuse help from the "boatmen", the charge is levied by the harbour authorities and is not to line the pockets of locals.

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 one or both charges seems to be a little bit of a hit and miss affair.

The authorities in Symi tend to be a little more vigilant at collecting the fees as they have many boats visiting from Turkey and the harbour is generally very busy.

In any event, a total charge of 16 euros for an overnight stay in one of the most popular harbours in the area seems pretty good to me. OK, so there are no real facilities offered there, but you are surrounded by restaurants and bars with all the toilet facilities (and sometimes shower facilities) for just the price of a beer or two.

With regards to incident with the shackle pin, it is extremely doubtful that this would have been deliberately tampered with. The condition of many moorings in many harbours is always dubious and a double check may have shown a problem prior to this. It is also extremely doubtful that anyone would interfere with the boat over a dispute about 10 euros.

John Chandler
SY "Tasemaro"

Posted September 2012
Simi Harbour: Caution if Docking here

We docked in Symi harbour on 30 August 2012. There was plenty of dock space available. A “boatman” caught our 4 lines, attached them and advised we needed to go to Port Police. He advised he would return later as we were busy.

Later in the evening we were summonsed to the stern by two boatmen and presented an invoice for 10 euro for catching lines and giving us a spot (not theirs to allocate, lots of space available plus I had paid the Port police 6 euros per night for the privilege). I advised that I was grateful for the help but the amount was ridiculous. After some abuse and a promise that I would never be able to dock there again they left.

I slept on deck that night to ensure the boat was not interfered with. The next night I slept below.

When we came to leave, as I removed my stern lines (chain attached to a large spring held on by a substantial green pin shackle), the shackle pin fell out as the restraining nut had been removed and was nowhere evident. It is impossible for the pin to fall out accidently.

People should be aware that should you accept help from the line catcher you may be “invoiced” for an amount that I consider ridiculous. As to removal of the shackle nut, I have no idea who removed it but suggest you check your docklines carefully.

Phil Wright
SV Enchantée

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Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 13, 2015 03:02 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Indo Dream:

I have been sailing in Greece for some years and i can easily believe that what happened to Mr Phil Wright in Symi corresponds to truth.
Symi harbour is riding a big wave of popularity between cruising boats, mostly because the Turkish people are flocking in, and during the summer months there is never enough space to accommodate all boats.
I came to Symi early afternoon, on a windy day. I called the port police and when I was allowed a place they gave me the last place in the corner near the gullets side, despite the harbour was almost empty and the north dock almost empty.
I had problems manoeuvring as the bottom is tricky and the anchor didn't bite, so I came to the dock couple of meters downwind from the intended place.I threw the line to the dockmaster, he at first gave couple of turns to the bollard on the dock so we stopped drifting and he started shouting like a crazy that we should move to windward two meters.
Not even giving me the time to respond or to act with anchor and engine, that he undid the turns on the bollard, letting go our boat against the small boats on the leeward side, while he was looking with an impassable face. He could not care less for the consequent damages.
Finally I manoeuvred again this time one of our crew jumped to tie the ropes while the man kept shouting in Greek "MALAKA..." that something was wrong, like there was no tomorrow.
You should not take a line from a boat if you are not going to make it fast, and you should never in any case let it go intentionally.
It's only by chance that we did not hit the smaller boats on our leeward side.
I could not understand why he treated us like that.
A friend told me that I should always reserve a place through an agent as is the only way not to have problems with them. He told me that he use to bribe them around 50€ when he goes there. Which is not a tip for a good service, is a have to pay otherwise you will be treated badly.
I thought was an isolated episode so this year it happened to go back to Symi harbor again.
And again the same people are ruling the dock, with the same attitude.
And again problems with them as we did not booked through an agent.
I will try to avoid Symi harbor at any cost in the future.