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Greek sailing tax hits tourists

- by Dabs Banner

Yacht owners must pay to sail through Greek waters.

Sailing a yacht through Greek waters on a Greek Island holiday will not come cheap next year as the Greek government implements its latest tax gathering plan.

Greece recently announced a new law that will make yacht owners pay a tax for the privilege of sailing boats through Greek waters or for mooring their vessels in Greek ports.

Tourist leaders on many Greek islands are unhappy with the sailing tax which they fear will reduce the number of tourist visitors and drive yacht owners and sailors to ports in other countries.

Anyone thinking of sailing through Greek waters for a holiday next year will first have to pay a hefty tax, depending on the size of the yacht.

The 'sea circulation' tax applies to small vessels of all nationalities, commercial or leisure, that are more than seven metres in length and want to sail, moor or drop anchor in Greek waters.

The tax will allow boat owners to sail through Greek waters for one calendar year only and the annual charges range from €200 for vessels of seven to eight metres long, €300 for vessels of eight to ten metres and €400 for vessels of ten to twelve metres.

Boat and yacht owners with bigger vessels will pay and extra €100 for every metre but they can pay monthly for each month they sail in Greek waters or they can get a 30% discount if they pay for a year up front, but only if their boat is based permanently in Greece.

The new sailing tax covers the whole period covered by the payment but it is not repayable if the vessel is taken outside Greek waters early.

The introduction of the tax for sailing your boat in Greek waters comes after two years of consultation but the decision has already had an impact on yacht owners who have bases their boats on Greek islands.

Since the law was passed many owners with boats based in Greece have sailed them out of Greek waters and snapping up permanent mooring in countries like Turkey where they don't face taxes.

Others are demanding concessions for specific boat categories and threatening to leave Greece and relocate their yachts elsewhere.