Greece: Rules Tighten for Visiting Yachts
Cruising boats from outside the EU heading to Greece this summer, need to be aware that rules regarding the transit log have tightened up considerably, plus insurance requirements for all yachts have changed. There are fines for non-compliance.
Published 10 months ago
Since the start of this month (June 1, 2022) it is now compulsory for the Transit Log (required by all non-European yachts) to be stamped in every port visited with a port office. This makes cruising around the islands more onerous as authorities must be sought out in every port. Yacht insurance requirements have also changed and fines for not complying are high.
Details of the new laws are outlined below.
TRANSIT LOG (All types) | NON EU YACHTS
A Transit Document (Log) is issued at the first port of clearance by Customs (not the Port Police) and is valid for 18 months. This can be extended for up to 6 months if the boat is put in bond (either bonded in a marina or out of the water in a boatyard, vacated and inactive). It is now compulsory that the Transit Log is stamped in every port [Article 14 Paragraph 5 of Law 4926/2022].
The law states that the Port Police are obliged to investigate if the skipper/owner has visited the Port Master’s Office to stamp in/out both the Transit Log as well as the Crew/Passenger List.
If the Officer determines that this did not take place, then by law he is required to impose a standard fee penalty of €500, restrict the sailing of the yacht and inform Customs as this is also a Customs Procedure Violation.
INSURANCE | ALL YACHTS
It is compulsory to have yacht insurance coverage, proof of which must be presented on arrival in Greece.
Failure to show proof of insurance to the Port Master will result in a penalty of €150. In addition, the Port Master can restrict the sailing permit of the yacht till proof of insurance is provided.
For yachts less than 300 Gross tonnage, the lower minimum coverage limits per risk, that apply from June 1 2022, are as follows:
- Civil liability for death or personal injury of passengers and third parties: one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) euros, per person and seven hundred thousand (700.000) euros, per incident and two million one hundred thousand (2,100,000) euros in total for the entire insurance period.
- Civil liability for material damages of passengers and third parties: one hundred and fifty thousand (150.000) euros, per event and four hundred and fifty thousand (450,000) euros in total for the entire insurance period.
- Civil liability for sea water pollution: one hundred and fifty thousand (150.000) euros, per event and four hundred and fifty thousand (450,000) euros in total for the entire insurance period.
The original insurance contract must be provided in Greek and English and the original insurance certificate must be carried.
Michaelis Roditis, manager of the Roditis Yachting Agency, commented to Noonsite; “Indeed this law is not very friendly and at least in the beginning, skippers must be very careful.”
The text of the new law is available here (in Greek).
For more information see Noonsite/Greece/Formalities/Documents.
Having spent last summer cruising Greek waters flying a red ensign I can say we definitely attracted more Port Police (CG) interest than yachts flying EU flags – there were no problems, just document checks and it was all very polite and gracious.
So a possible route, if planning an extended stay in Greece, would be to ‘flag out’. I have heard (though I haven’t substantiated this’) that Poland allows vessel registration by owners not resident in Poland. You’d need to check that your insurance company was happy with this but otherwise it would appear a simple solution.
I’d be interested to hear views, particularly if anyone has tried and suceeded (or failed!).
I forgot to mention: you’d need to check the VAT position carefully also. I believe the VAT requirement relates to the residency status of the crew (ie. not the registration of the vessel), so I suspect that would also work as long as nobody onboard was a EU resident. Check first though!
Very helpful post. Greece is a country on the verge of economic disaster. Everything I read about them lately is about how they impose bureaucratic, illogical and frankly aggressive ‘regulations’ (…. which is their perogative but ought to have consequences…) that do everything to discourage visits from the sort of people they should be encouraging. Things like insistance on carrying ‘original’ documents are meaningless in a digital age – just look at the new Part 1 Reg ‘documents’ now, let alone insurance certs held digitally. Moreover, imposition of document language requirements in Greek AND English is just plainly obstructive: the common business language of the EU is English ( and a few others, but not Greek). Looks like we will all have to spend hours at the keyboard with Google translate? Or boycott/ avoid Greece?
We left the UK in 2018 and have been in the EU since then. We were given a TL when we first arrived in Corfu, Greece in mid 2020 but after visiting Customs in Lefkas this April it was removed and we were told we didn’t need a TL.
Now do we need a TL or not? 🤔
If this is critical to you then of course it would be better to check officially. However, for what it’s worth, my understanding is that providing your boat was in Greece (afloat or ashore) when the UK left the EU then your previous TL status (ie. not needing a TL) continues. If your boat subsequently left/leaves Greece then on return you will need a TL. If you are Greek resident at the time of your return you can claim a permanent TL, if not then its validity will be 18 months.
I was in this position and had the above confirmed by officials (not that that’s definitive!) on several occasions, and on my departure from Greece it was confirmed by customs.
Hope this helps!