After the withdrawal of cruising taxes by the Greek Government, how will visiting yachtsmen feel about ab-Zorba-ing its hasty replacement?

After a year long campaign to obtain a review of harbour fees from the Greek Ministry of Merchant Marine, the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) the UK’s national governing body for all forms of sailing, windsurfing, and powerboat racing, has learned that Greece’s so called ‘cruising tax’ is to be scrapped.

The charge was for any yacht, regardless of flag state, not kept permanently in Greek waters. There was also a higher charge or penalty for yachts that left Greek waters and returned within 30 days. This was, says the RYA, clearly an attempt to discourage yachts from leaving but seems to have had the reverse effect and put off many from coming in the first place.

The RYA worked closely with Action Single Market and British Embassy officials in Athens to bring about the change. It also recognised the support and information it received from its own members and members of the Cruising Association in Greece, who continue to monitor developments.

Speaking about yacht charges in Greece Kathryn Burnett the RYA’s Cruising manager highlighted the need for further vigilance. “While we are pleased that our campaign to have the cruising tax scrapped was successful, it now appears that the Greek Maritime officials are introducing a ‘cruising log’ charging scheme.

“This supposedly gives permission to cruise in Greek waters and costs 2000 Drachmas per metre, that’s about £40 for a 30ft boat. I feel that this again appears to contravene European freedom of movement legislation and I am already collecting information on this charge to put the yachtsmen’s case forward.”