Sailing in the Greek seas
One of the best ways to get to know the coasts and islands of Greece and to really feel the sun and sea is to travel the Greek seas by boat – sailing, motor boat or inflatable.
If you are a boater, you know the extraordinary feeling. In Greece, you can rent a boat and enjoy moments of leisure on the sea while on holiday -- exploring Greece’s beautiful coasts, inlets and beaches, your way.
There are many yachting companies, as well as private boat owners offering many and varied options. But there is also valuable information to know in advance to plan a safe and pleasant trip.
Where to look
The internet is the most popular source for initial information. Begin with boat chartering in Greece and continue to find the right boat at the right price.
Boats can be rented anywhere in Greece. If you are already in Greece and have the time visit the marinas for a first hand look. If, in Athens, the marinas on the south coast of Attica are easy to reach, especially the Alimos marina.
Other popular starting points are Rhodes, Crete, Samos, Thessaloniki, .Kavala, Volos, Chalkis, Corfu, Lefkas. You can also begin at other ports.
Sailing boat or motor boat?
You can rent any kind of boat. Most prefer sailboats of all types (ketch-1 mast, sloop-2 masts), catamarans and motor boats, in that order. Also, you can rent inflatable boats, usually for shorter periods – for one day or a weekend. A sailboat is most popular because it is clearly cheaper. In this category, most recently, the catamaran from 38 to 44 ft is first choice. If you prefer a more expensive motor yacht, today the prices are very competitive.
Sailboats are generally safer and less expensive. Sailing is appealing to those who love adventure and tranquility-- away from city noise and surrounded by the sounds of nature. However, sailboats have fewer comforts and space than motor boats. However, recently, they are designed for more convenience.
TThere is a significant difference in the rental price of a sailboat and a motor boat. Comparing boats of the same age and size is a valuable way of assessing price differences. For example, looking at high season prices for a 5 year old, 42-48 ft boat, the daily rate for a sailboat is 500 to 900 euro, bareboat (without skipper); a motor boat reaches 1,100 to 1,500 euro, excluding fuel costs, which are very high.
In calculating final price, the season and number of rental days affect the price. The number of passengers does not influence the price, to a great degree, but is important for sharing the total cost of the trip. The more people in your group, the less each individual pays.
For sailboats up to 55 to 58 feet, the maximum is ten people. This is also something to discuss with the rental company.
With or without skipper
Both for sailing and motor boats, generally two skipper licenses are required for bare boat (without skipper) rental. Of course, for a motor boat, the skipper license must be issued for a motor boat. If a skipper is required on the boat, there is payment for his services but additional licenses are not required.
Selecting the skipper is the renter’s choice unless the boat owner has specified a particular skipper. The cost for skipper ranges from 120 to 180 euro per day but this is merely indicative. Price also depends on the agreement.
The deal and the payment
Usually the deal is done by e-mail or as indicated on the site of each company. The usual method of payment is an advance up to 30% and remainder of the payment at the marina before setting sail. Upon payment, an amount is paid or charged to credit card, for insurance coverage, which varies depending on the rental company and the size of the boat. The amount is refunded after the safe delivery of the boat.
Picking up and delivering the boat
The boat is picked up and delivered usually at the marina where it is docked. Depending on particular requests, a location can be agreed upon in advance, which may result in some additional costs. The location is known by the price agreement.
The vessel is delivered by the representative of the rental company or the individual owner and also returned to the company representative or owner. The signing of a charter party is required, which is received by the representative of the boat.
With the charter party, the license of departure is issued from the marina of departure. A copy of the charter party remains in on board throughout the journey.
Procedures during the trip
When the boat is rented bareboat (without skipper), two persons with a skipper’s license are required.
From the port or marina of departure, this is required for permission to depart. Usually this is handled by the rental company or the skipper, if hired.
During the trip, if required by local authorities, declaration must be made on arrival and departure. The person declared as skipper must bring the boat’s documents and a copy of the charter party to the port authority. The cost of this procedure usually does not exceed 10 Euro.
Supply the boat
Place of departure and the large islands are more suitable for supplies, fuel and water, because there is variety of choice and better prices.
The boat rental companies provide information on fuel supply and water for island destinations.
The flotilla is a predetermined group of boats, with scheduled trip duration and program destinations; there are also skippers on the boats.
Many companies advertise these trips providing information for participating on their web sites. Most often the trip is cheaper than individual chartering but has the risk of sailing with people you do not know. Generally, participation is prepaid.
Best seasons and seas
TThe best seasons for mild winds in all Greek seas are May, June, September and October. Each sea has its own peculiarities.
The Aegean Sea offers a great choice of destinations with hundreds of islands and the distances between one island and another doesn’t exceed 60 miles. During the meltemia (strong north winds) in July and, especially, in August, choose the southern and southwestern destinations.
The Ionian Sea is generally a milder sea but with fewer destinations and limited options for boats since most are moored in marinas closer to the Aegean Sea.
The site meteo.gr provides detailed information about weather conditions in each region including the intensity and direction of winds, the wave height etc.
If you buy a boat
If you want to buy a boat, there are many companies to choose from in Greece. Agreements are flexible and could also include all related services, such as survey, boat insurance, marina berth, if the buyer wants the vessel to remain in Greece, as well as regular service and maintenance with an agreed monthly fee. Other options include transfer of the vessel in Greece, wherever the buyer wishes, with the appropriate fee for transporters (usually two), as well as transfer of the vessel abroad with a transport company by sea or land.