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Greece

Major relaxations to Greek boating regulations were made during 2014, and provisions were made to introduce a boating tax. The boating tax has not yet been introduced. New Boating Regulations

Contents - Click the link to jump to the subject:

Greece, the Country

Boating Regulations Detail

Greece, The Country

European Union, Schengen Zone, Euro zone.

Communications

  • Time zone: UTC +2 winter, UTC +3 summer.
  • Dial codes:  Inbound +30, followed by the given number. Outbound to UK, 0044 (omit the UK 0)
  • Good mobile coverage. 3G common.
  • WiFi widely available, either free in cafés or paid. Variable performance; often overloaded.
  • Internet 'cafés', moderately common.

Travel

Money & Shops

  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Banks only open mornings
  • ATMs common. Charges - £2.50 minimum typical
  • Credit cards rarely accepted except in big ticket tourist shops
  • Greek shops and businesses typically close 14:00 to 18:00 for siesta, then open until 20:00. 
  • Shops in tourist areas open whenever there is business!

Culture

  • Languages in common use: Greek (with Greek script). In tourist areas, English.
  • Life stops from 14:00 to 18:00, siesta time.
  • "Afternoon" (apoyevna) is from 17:30 to 20:00
  • Evening meal times: Early shift for tourists, 19:00. Normal Greek, 22:00 onwards.
  • Sunday lunch is a big family event
  • Feast days and weddings are very noisy events which often last until dawn.

Regulations

newRegulations were relaxed from July 2014. Boats must visit port police on first arrival in Greece to obtain "permission to cruise", and renew this once a year after that.

  • Permission to Cruise. All leisure boats over change7m which are in the water must carry Greek cruising papers (DEKPA for EU boats, transit log for non-EU boats). These are obtained from Port authorities. DEKPA remain valid indefinitely.  Transit logs must be handed back on departure from Greek waters.
  • A law permitting monthly or annual fees (TPP) for all leisure vessels cruising Greek waters was published on 1 Jan 2014,change but is not implemented yet (Dec 2015)
  • Greece is part of the Schengen zone, so there are no border controls if arriving from a Schengen country by "approved means of transport" (planes, ferries).
  • All yachts arriving from non-Schengen countries must provide a crew list to port authorities.
  • Quay charges may be collected by local authorities.

Greek Boating Regulations.

Visitors are given limited advice as to recent regulation changes at: http://www.yachting.yen.gr/en/. Regulations are not consistently applied; please report infringements to The Cruising Associaton if this happens to you. 

Entering the Country

Immigration Matters - People

Entry.  Greece is in the Schengen zone; Schengen immigration regulations apply. A vessel which has been outside territorial waters (more than 12nm from a shore line) has technically left, then re-entered the Schengen zone. This nicety is ignored when cruising between Greek ports, changeand EU crews arriving from Italy are also not asked to report arrival (boats must report - see below!) .

  • If arriving from a country outside the Schengen zone, notify Port police. They will instruct you to go to a port with a port police office (a blue sign with crossed anchors) and hand in this crew list (€15)Such crew lists can be made out on the spot, but don't forget passport numbers and birth dates. Lists should be carried on the boat until leaving the Schengen zone.
  • EU/Schengen Zone national passports allow the holder free circulation within Schengen without endorsement.
  • All other passports must be endorsed with a valid Schengen visa or entry stamp - one which has not been cancelled by an exit stamp. This allows the holder to circulate freely within the Schengen zone for a total stay of up to 90 days in any 180.  
  • Officials sometimes do not provide an entry stamp for Non-EU/Schengen crews. changeWithout a stamp, crews do not have free circulation ashore. If involved in any incident, or if they attempt to depart Greece by ferry or air, they may be treated as illegal immigrants. As such they are liable to be fined, and may be denied re-entry to the country for a period. We recommend you insist on an entry stamp.
Customs - Boats

Permits to Cruise. All boats over 7m LOA afloat in Greek waters must have permission to cruise. This permission is recorded on a central database. To obtain it, on first arrival boats must go to the Hellenic Coast Guard ("Port Police" or PP) with:

  • Yacht registration certificate
  • Greek language certificate of insurance, showing extent of cover (amounts may change year to year)
  • Passports
  • Very rarely, other certificates (competence or radio) may be asked for..
  • If you already hold one, produce a previously issued DEKPA

Leisure boats will then be issued with one of the following, depending whether they are EU registered or a VAT paid import, or foreign registered with VAT not paid. :

  • DEKPA (Greek initials: ΔEKΠA) for EU registered boats and  VAT paid imports. This translates as "Private Pleasure Maritime Document" When first issued, it costs €30, sometimes with a €15 processing fee added. It records the boat's permission to cruise indefinitely in and out of the country, but is only valid if it has a PP stamp less than one year old on it. When leaving Greece, keep the certificate for future visits. It will record tax payments if these are introduced (TPP tax Details) .
  • Transit Log for boats registered outside the EU and VAT not paid. newTransit log costs €45, and is valid for a stay of up to 18 months (when the boat must leave the EU customs zone). A former 3 monthly cruising tax has been suspended.  TPP (a circulation tax) may replace this.The transit log must be handed back on departure from Greece. Some over-stays have been fined a few hundred euros.

Customs. You must always report to customs if you’re carrying firearms. Otherwise customs will rarely trouble you. If you have SCUBA equipment aboard, you must not also have spear fishing gear aboard. SCUBA diving is subject to permission in some areas. Codeine is an illegal substance.

Cruising Routines

Municipal Port Berthing Fees. Standard berthing fees, depending on LOA, are collected by local authorities/municipalities for their quaysides. They don't apply where concessions have been granted to third parties to manage "improved" quaysides, up to and including full service marinas.

"Marinas" Management of some "improved" quaysides is through a local licence permitting an organisation or person to provide electricity, water, or mooring assistance for a  fee. Most marina concessions are obvious. In other cases, quayside staff collect fees. new Unauthorised people sometimes ask for berthing fees - Greek law requires that if you're not offered a receipt, you don't pay.

Union Harbour Staff. In harbours which regularly handle larger craft, there are free-lance warp handlers. These make a standard charge of around €50 per task. Don't accidentally throw your warps to one of these . .

Anchoring Limitations. Blanket regulations governing all shipping do not permit anchoring and manouevring under power within 1,000m of "designated beaches". If swimmers complain that boats are anchoring too close to a beach, the port police are obliged to investigate. Usually they will ask you to move on. There are rare reports that boats have been fined. In areas where visiting yachts are common, the rule is ignored. If lines of buoys have been laid, never move inside the buoys. 

Cost of Calling for Assistance (!)

If a boat "problem" or failure initiates a call for outside help, and the Hellenic Coast Guard (usually known as Port Police) hear it, the episode is logged. Their regulations then require that boat papers held held until (1) a surveyor's certificate is obtained stating that the boat is seaworthy and (2) the report is allocated a reference number by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs (which can only be done during normal working hours) and (3) possible infringements of the law are investigated.

  • There is a standard charge just for issuing seaworthiness reports,  depending on the registered LOA of the vessel; typically €400 to €700 for cruising sail boats. This applies whether or not the surveyor makes an inspection.
  • If there's an infringement of the law, prosecutors will be informed, and the boat's skipper may be summoned to appear in court. This may often be years after the event. Keep all evidence of such events (amounts paid etc) in the event you are accused of "Causing a Shipwreck" (ie, bumping a rock and calling for help) minimum penalty 2 years imprisonment.

Note.The responsibility for ensuring seaworthiness of British registered leisure boats under 24m rests with the crew. The need for any survey is left to the owner's discretion. Unfortunately, the British embassy in Greece is not aware of this, and responds to queries on this matter by saying "in Greek waters, British boats have to follow Greek regulations"

Owners and Skippers

If someone other than a listed owner will regularly skipper your boat, list them as skipper on your DEKPA/Transit Log with the port police before the event (passport number and date of birth will be needed). Alternatively, list them as co-owners on your registration document. A final possibility is to ensure your skipper carries a letter of appointment from an owner (usually for a delivery from one port to another).

Leaving Greece

  • EU boats and EU crews may leave Greece with no formalities. They retain the DEKPA for future use.
  • Non EU boats must hand in their transit logs before departure
  • Non-EU passport holders, if leaving the Schengen area, should obtain exit stamps from immigration in order to halt the clock on Schengen visas. 

See Also:

 

 

Reviewed Dec 2015


 

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