Sailing along the wonderful Greek shores where a soft Mediterranean wind is constantly caressing the face and a tender sun welcomes you to spend more time outside. Just imagine yourself living this experience without being dependent on anyone or anything.  Have you ever though about enjoying these wonders in a completely independent way sailing your own route at your own pace? Bareboat charter in Greece offers you this opportunity, however there are a few things you should bear in mind when planning your trip. Find out more about the necessary requirements for a bareboat charter in Greece and get the most out of your sailing holidays!

Porto Katsiki Beach, Lefkada, Greece

Porto Katsiki Beach, Lefkada, Greece

First of all, in order to rent a yacht and sail in Greece, it is obligatory that at least one person on-board (the role of skipper) possesses a special sailing licence or sailing certificates that could back-up their navigation skills, experience and competence within the sphere. It’s the necessary condition to start the sailing journey. Normally, this paper is issued by any official institution (RYA accreditation) of the maritime world. Among them are encountered the following places such as:

  • Sailing clubs
  • Sailing schools
  • Authorized yacht charter companies
  • Special sailing/yachting associations

In any case, it’s better to contact a specific port of your choice to be sure about the particular requirements as they can differ.

Sailing on a SunOdyssey Boat

Sailing on a SunOdyssey Boat

Sometimes it’s advisable to hire a professional skipper if you are not sure about your sailing skills and competence. A lack of experience can cause additional difficulties when it comes to bareboat charter itself. So, please, try to assess your abilities appropriately. Safety is the first priority! The majority of yacht clubs hold different sailing courses (theory and practice) and some of them have special intensive courses in the evenings or weekends. Sailing licences are issued after passing the final exam successfully. However, if from the very beginning you are convinced that you have everything necessary to sail, bareboat charter in Greece is an ideal option for your sailing vacations!

One interesting detail to keep in mind is that due to the fact that in some countries sailing licence is not mandatory in many cases, sometimes the Greek authorities permit to replace it by a special self-declaration form (not everywhere in Greece) where the skipper must indicate his previous experience and confirm that he will take the responsibility about the boat and passengers during the planned bareboat charter in Greece.

Secondly, there are some good news for all those who possess a sailing licence issued by European Union countries: these licences are automatically valid and accepted in Greece. Additionally, non-EU licences are also accepted if they meet the basic EU standards. At the same time, please pay special attention to the fact that licences in any language other than English or Greek must be translated.

Please pay attention that the necessary qualification and expertise in order to be able to rent a boat without a skipper can change due to legislation updates and new laws. For example, there were some restrictions applied in 2010 due to which a number of previous regulations lost their power. The main purpose of those updates is to obtain a better control of the bareboat charter activities and especially between its islands. At the same time, many regulations depend on the particular port or harbour where the local authorities or police are those who establish the rules.

The latest requirements regarding the bareboat charter in Greece include:

Kos Island Landscape

Kos Island Landscape

  • International certificate of competence (ICC)

This document has the main power in the country and is 100% recognizable anywhere in Greece. We highly recommend you to get this paper before you start your bareboat charter in Greece because it’s a total guarantee of your professionalism. Having this certificate, it’ll minimize the time you spend in a port or harbour.

If you possess a national equivalent to ICC (or foreign licenses such as American ASA 104 certificate), it’s advisable to convert it to ICC even though some of them are still valid in many ports.

  • RYA official sailing certificates are also widely recognised.

Required expertise for the bareboat charter:

 – RYA practical day skipper (U.K.) is a minimum level to be able to navigate.
– Non-tidal RYA practical day skipper certificate is also valid.
– US Sailing bareboat cruising
– ASA bareboat chartering 104 (intermediate level)

In any case, normally, the process to convert these certificates into International certificate of competence doesn’t take a long time, therefore it is always better to do this procedure. Some Greek ports still ask for two sailing licences in order to make a bareboat charter (one for somebody from the crew-competent level), however, it’s more an exception as a rule.

Some peculiarities:

If you are going to sail nearby Dodecanese or Cyclades, please pay attention that bareboat charter requirements there are higher than in the rest of Greece. There you can face stricter harbour authorities, especially in terms of anchoring and mooring. At the same time, Ionian sea region doesn’t require many papers in order to sail and the process is smoother.

Be especially attentive if you want to rent a boat in the following destinations:

  • Paros
  • Santorini
  • Karpathos
  • Kos
  • Ikaria
  • Meltemi
Seven columns in Asklepion - place on the island Kos in Greece.

Seven columns in Asklepion – place on the island Kos in Greece.

Further details and limitations

In some cases, you can use your previous skipper experience as a Day Skipper standard (UK) or experience from the previous yacht charter or flotilla sailing holiday.

For your bareboat charter in Greece you should be competent at:

  • Managing a yacht in close quarters
  • Anchoring and mooring in different weather conditions
  • Demonstrating high navigation and pilotage skills to be able to spend the whole day as a part on your bareboat charter

To rent a motor yacht, qualified skipper must present a special licence for motor yachts. In this case self-declaration forms are not acceptable.

Well, now you know what to do and how to start planning your unforgettable bareboat charter in Greece. Adventures are waiting for you!