Sailing regulations for yachts in Greece have become much easier under a new law, says the Cruising Association. But the CA, which has hundreds of members sailing in Greece, warns that the law also calls for certificates of insurance giving higher values.
All vessels under 300gt now need insurance of €50,000 per passenger and not less than €500,000 per event to cover civil liability for bodily harm or death of passengers and third parties due to collision, crash, sinking or any other cause.
Civil liability for material damage needs insurance cover of €150,000. The old limits (which most policies currently cover) were €300,000 for bodily injury or death, €150,000 for third-party, and €90,000 for sea pollution.
The new law follows the new Greek cruising tax which charges all boat owners using Greek waters - up to 400 euros for boats under 12m and up to 100 euros x the metre length of boat for a full calendar year. The higher rate can be reduced if the boat spends less than seven months a year in the water. Also, if the boat spends more than 11 months in Greek territory - afloat or ashore - owners can claim a 30% reduction on yearly rates.
A system for making payment of the tax is expected to be in place sometime in May but a period of transition will follow when penalties are very unlikely. The relaxation of port police procedures is already in effect.
Multiple methods for paying are being arranged: on-line; through port police, tax offices and agents; and possibly through banks. Cash, credit or debit cards can be used by most collecting methods.
The CA has been busy working with Greek authorities to reduce the effects of the new legislation and many of its suggestions have been taken on board. So far, the following has been confirmed:
All EU boats cruising in Greece need a DEKPA (Cruising Bulletin) and that remains permanently valid.
Once the Greek tax payment system (TPP) is in force, the DEKPA will be used to register the boat and payments of the TPP. It is still unsure how this will work except that there will be a central on-line registry.
While the boat remains in Greece, the DEKPA only needs to be presented to port police once a year. We are still checking what happens when only a month's tax has been paid for boats more than 12m.
Boats should carry an up-to-date crew list and report any changes to immigration control.
Permission from the port police is no longer needed on arrival in harbour, to haul out, re-launch or to leave harbour.
Licences are no longer required for fishing from a boat.
The port police only need to be contacted if there is an accident or injury at sea, but they have the right to visit the boat to check payment of dues.
All insurance certificates need to show the revised cover.
Boats of 12m and less pay a single fee on arrival in Greece or on launching. This will permit them to cruise for the rest of that calendar year in Greek waters. There are three bands: 7.1m to 8m, €200; 8.1m to 10m, €300; and 10.1m to 12m, €400. After a transition period, boats over 12m which try to evade paying this tax face a harsh penalty if caught - they have to pay twice the full annual rate due.