There are now fears that sailors in Croatia will leave the country rather than pay the additional costs

Sailors who keep their boats in Croatia are being warned to brace themselves for an “enormous tax increase” after new regulations were introduced by the Croatian Government.

The Cruising Association (CA) is now predicting that “hundreds, if not thousands of boat owners, will leave Croatia rather than pay the increase, which could amount to more than 400%.”

The new rates for the so-called sojourn tax were published in the Croatian Official Gazette last month.

It lists the following scales of payment: Boats between 9 and 12 metres: up to 8 days – Kn400, 15 days – Kn700, 30 days –  Kn1,200, 90 days – Kn2,900 and up to one year Kn5,800.

For boats between 12 and 15 metres: up to 8 days – Kn500, 15 days – Kn 950, 30 days – Kn1,600, 90 days – Kn3,850 and up to one year – Kn7,700.

One Croatian kuna is worth 12p.

The CA is urging all boat owners in Croatia to check to see what the new rates will mean for them and to liaise with their marina managers to see if they could pay for an extra year in advance at the old rate.

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CA member and boat owner, Peter Naish, said he managed to pay for an extra year in advance under the old tax payment.

“From 2018, my bill for this tourist tax would rise from Kn1100pa to Kn5800 pa but I have managed to extend my tourist tax payment at the old rate,” he explained.

“My present tax certificate would have run out in June next year. I paid Kn1100 to extend the cover until June 2019. The harbour masters at both Murter, where I am based, and in Preko have issued extended tax certificates to myself and some others,” he added.

However, Naish is frustrated that the money for the new tax will be used for tourist projects which are of little use to sailors.

Croatia cruising

Croatia cruising

“We pay the vignette to cover the costs of the marine infrastructure – lights and buoyage. We pay very high marina and mooring fees to cover the costs of these infrastructure projects,” he explained.

“Now we are expected to pay an over-proportional amount for other tourist projects that we will hardly use,” added Naish, who said he would now be researching alternative destinations.

“It will be very hard to leave Croatia, as we have many good friends here, but somewhere and sometime this has to stop,” he added.

In recent years, there have been changes to cruising regulations in both Greece and Turkey, which has caused some boat owners to move elsewhere.

From last month, all boat owners in Greece needed a new DEPKA – the document all boat owners must have stamped annually and carry with all ship’s papers – or face a fine.

However, there was confusion for many in the run up to its introduction on 26 September 2017.

Some Greek port offices had not heard of the new regulations, or had run out of forms or were unclear as to the boats it applied to.