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June 03 2016

Cross-border traffic – Sailing between Greece and Turkey

Sailing between Orient and Occident — meaning between Greece and Turkey – is something that many charter crews would like to experience on a trip. We keep having numerous enquiries as to if and how this multiple crossing of the borders can be done. We report about a cruise that tested this out.

Sailing between Orient and Occident — meaning between Greece and Turkey – is something that many charter crews would like to experience on a trip. We keep having numerous enquiries as to if and how this multiple crossing of the borders can be done.
Rhodos Stadt
To demonstrate how this is possible we put together a crew and took a sailing charter yacht to three islands between Greece and Turkey. Altogether we were at the customs office four times. Starting point was the Turkish sailors’ paradise Marmaris. First we went westwards along the Turkish coast. With the help of an agent we cleared out in the port of Datca, just in order to clear back in a few hours later on the Greek island named Symi.  We continued on to Chalki and afterwards to the remote island Kapathos.  Then we sailed to Rhodos to clear out of Greece and finally returned to Marmaris in Turkey.

Compared to former years in which yachts were able to cross over illegally and without heading any border formalities, nowadays this is completely impossible.
So our advice is: Illegal border crossing between countries on a sail boat is dangerous, it can have high fines for consequence and the yacht may quickly end up being put on a chain, thus causing a lot of additional cost for the charter client.
Therefore, on your next trip bear in mind that it is imperative to clear in and out and you will be on the safe side for sure.

This often happens - and also is a legal requirement in Turkey - by means of an agent who will charge a (sufferable) fee for this particular service. Yet for this they need to travel to far off offices all by themselves without a skipper and a crew in order to get the necessary documents and stamps. Our experience shows that it is very easy and we managed without any problems or complications whatsoever. It lasts up to 1-2 hours and is about 70 € to 170 € per agent, transit, fees included etc. The advantage is that all the crew is then officially cleared in with all relevant documents and stamps.

In Greece you can take care of the papers yourself, even if the office is a little bit far off as for example in Rhodos. Here too an agent could help you if need be. Alternatively you can just ask the marinero in the port how to do it. On the way back you also have to clear out again in order to be able to sail on towards Marmaris, for example.

.In order to clear in in Marmaris all yachts have to moor up onto a short floating pontoon next to the customs authority. The whole crew needs to report in the office where their faces are being compared with their passport photos – just like in any other border crossing worldwide.

In the end we can say that it goes without problems. Skipper and crew have to stick to the general bureaucracy that is the same anywhere in the world. You have to fill out the papers, get the stamps and then you automatically have the Aegean Sea in front of the bow.
 
 
 
Felix Wolf
f.wolf@yachtbooker.com

Felix Wolf once founded YachtBooker. He is a charter skipper himself and enjoys discovering new sailing areas.

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