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Other laws for yachtsmen

There are a number of laws which, while not specifically maritime law, nonetheless are of special relevance to the yachtsman.  
Antiquities This concerns the acquisition and export of antiquities. Greece loses valuable and irreplaceable antiquities every year and some of these are smuggled out of the country on yachts. Any antiquities found in Greece must be surrendered to the state. Any yacht with antiquities on board is liable to be impounded and confiscated and I know of several instances when this has occurred. This law also applies to antiquities and works of art which have been sold to you so it would pay to find out if an article can be exported before you exchange any money.  
Diving regulations This law forbids the use of compressed air tanks for underwater fishing. You may use a spear gun with a snorkel and mask but not with compressed air tanks. Scuba gear may be used for pleasure or filming except in areas where there may be antiquities on the seabed. These prohibited areas are so extensive that the National Tourist Board of Greece finds it easier to list those areas where compressed air tanks can be used for pleasure and filming. These are:

Kassandra promontory (Khalkidhiki peninsula)

All along a 500-metre belt of sea stretching out from the eastern shore of the promontory from the village of Polihrono to Ák Glarokavos.

Sinthonia promontory (Khalkidhiki peninsula)

All along a similar belt of the eastern shore of the promontory from Ák Armenistis to Ák Dhrépanon.

Athos promontory (Khalkidhiki peninsula)

a. Along a 500-metre belt from the shore in Ormos Provlaka from Pirgos Oranoupolis to Xerxes Canal.  
b. Along the northern shore of Nisis Ammouliani from Ak Trigona to Ak Kokkino, within a 300-metre belt running parallel with the shore.


Within a 500-metre belt around the island's shores, save for the stretch from Ák Ayios Yeóryios to Ák Alogomandra.

Kérkira (Corfu)

a. Within a 500-metre belt around the island's shores from Ák Rodha to Ák Dhrastis.  
b. Within a similar belt of sea from Palaiokastrita to Ák Arkoudila, with the exception of the waters surrounding Nisidhes Langoudhia.  
c. Within a similar 500-metre belt of sea from Ák Koundhouri to Ák Agni, with the exception of the waters surrounding the islands of Vidho and Lazaretto.


Within a 500-metre belt of sea round the island's shores except for the area of Voutsi.


a. Within the usual 500-metre belt along the island's western shores from Yiropetra to Ák Dhoukaton.  
b. Within a similar 500-metre belt along the island's eastern shore from the point on the beach in line with the village of Katouna as far as the eastern entrance to Órmos Rouda, but not within the bay itself nor around the island of Madhouri.  
c. Within a 500-metre belt of sea all round the island of Meganisi.


a. Within a 500-metre belt along the island's shores, except for Dhiavlos Ithaca from the level of Fiskârdho to Órmos Andisami and Órmos Sami to Áy Eufimia.  
b. Also excluded are the stretches of coast from Ák Kapri to Ák Mounda, the waters round the Variani islets and the coast from Ák Ortholithia to Ák Atheras.


All around the island's shore, along a 500-metre belt.  
Obviously it would pay to check with the local port police since any of these areas can be designated ‘Out of bounds’ if the Archaeological Service suspect there are antiquities on the seabed.  
Divers caught diving in prohibited areas face large fines, confiscation of their equipment and in some cases confiscation of the dive vessel if it is thought that the diving activities have been carried out to retrieve antiquities from the sea bottom. In most areas you go to there will be a commercial operation that organises diving courses and holidays. It makes sense to talk to the operators in an area to find out exactly what restrictions there are and what local conditions are like. There have been a number of accidents over the years where divers have got into trouble with currents which, although not always strong, can be tricky in tight situations.

Chartering your yacht

It seems to be a commonplace dream among impoverished yachtsmen arriving in Greece that they will quickly replenish their coffers by chartering - until they learn of the regulations governing charter. Up until 2003 if your yacht was to be chartered in Greek waters then it had to be registered in Greece. The amount of paperwork was prodigious and the charter agreement might be checked at any port. In 2003 the laws on cabotage and Law 438 changed so that Greece now falls in line with the other EU countries. This theoretically means that any EU-flagged boat can charter in Greece as long as it complies with Greek safety regulations for charter boats.  
For more detailed information on the whys and wherefores of chartering I suggest you get in touch with the National Tourist Board of Greece. On a more practical level you would do better to talk to someone in the charter game in Greece. A number of companies will put your boat under the Greek flag and charter it, paying you a percentage of the returns as well as allowing you the use of your boat in the off-season and for a limited period (usually two weeks) in the season. Just be sure you choose a reputable company or your beautiful new yacht may be a wreck by the end of a season of bareboat charter.

General information

Tourist offices  
In the cities and larger towns there are tourist offices which can often provide useful maps and pamphlets relevant to the local area.  

Banks and ATMs  
Major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) and travellers' cheques are accepted in the cities, larger towns and popular tourist spots. Many places have ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines - or hole in the wall machines' to you and me), which cork well with the major credit cards and a PIN lumber. In general there are few places of any size where you cannot change money either at an ATM, ι a bank, post office, or at a tourist agent who will usually have a sideline changing money. Banks are open from 0800-1300 Monday-Friday. Getting money sent to Greece from outside the country is a tedious and prolonged affair - expect it to take literally weeks longer than you anticipate.  

Public holidays  

January 1 New Year's Day  
January 6 Epiphany  
March 25 Independence Day  
May 1 Labour Day  
August 15 Assumption Day  
October 16 St Dimitrius’ Day (Salonika)  
October 28 Ochi (‘no’) Day  
December 25 Christmas Day  
December 26 St Stephen's Day  


First day of Lent  
Good Friday  
Easter Monday  

Health and medicines  
All cities and large towns have a hospital and for the most part treatment is good. Smaller towns and tourist areas will often have a health centre which can attend to more minor injuries and assess whether the patient should be taken to a hospital for further treatment. In most cases treatment for EU nationals is free of charge with Form El 11. In some cases you may have to pay part of the cost of treatment. It is worthwhile taking out comprehensive medical insurance which includes the costs of repatriation if necessary. Dental treatment is good in the cities and large towns, with well equipped practices and dentists who have often trained abroad. Specially-prescribed drugs should be bought in sufficient quantities in England before departure. Most drugs and medical requisites are freely available over the counter in Greece (including contraceptive pills, wide-spectrum antibiotics, antibiotic powder etc.) although they may be under unfamiliar brand names  

There are very strict penalties for the importation of drugs (hashish, cocaine, etc.) in Greece and severe sentences are handed out for possession of even small amounts of 'soft' drugs such as marijuana. Your yacht can be confiscated if drugs are found on board so play it safe and avoid them and anyone associated with them. A momentary ‘high’ is hardly worth the loss of your yacht and a stiff jail sentence.  

By and large Greece is an honest country, but in the cities and larger resorts crime is on the increase. Take all sensible precautions. In general the harbours around Athens have a bad reputation for theft. Security around the Albanian border appears more settled in recent months, although caution is still advised. Refer to the notes in the relevant chapters. More worrying is the increase in the people-smuggling trade. A number of yachts have been implicated in high profile illegal immigration cases, particularly around the Eastern Sporades and Dodecanese. In 2002 I was moored next to an impounded yacht which had been chartered from a reputable company, but was allegedly used to smuggle people into the EU. When stopped by the coastguard patrol there were fifty people on this 42' yacht. The wider issues of immigration aside, it is a very real problem for the Greek Authorities. Increased security around Greece's enormous sea border is now the norm. NATO warships and Greek Coastguard high-speed RIBs patrol these borders and regularly contact commercial sea traffic. Yachts are rarely contacted but a listening watch on VHP Ch 16 is recommended.  

In most places there will be someone who takes in laundry or a laundry will often be associated with a dry-cleaner. There are few self-service launderettes in Greece. Prices vary considerably, and are usually comparatively high, so ascertain the cost first.  

The postal system is reliable and efficient for letters, but packages take a long time to be distributed. A private address is preferable to Poste Restante. Most marinas and boatyards will hold mail for you.