Are yachts allowed to sail along the coast? How close can boats come to shore? What is the minimum distance for boats? What is the minimum distance you should keep between vessels? Here are the rules that apply to all sailboats, yachts, and dinghies:
During the summer (swimming) season, we can often see boats passing near the shore where others swim in the summer, especially if the beach or the particular coastline is close to a mooring bay or an anchorage. These are swimming locations in front of which boats often pass. Some beaches do not have a protective fence, so many yachts or dinghies pass very close to the shore, sometimes even between swimmers. Let us tell you the rules and do swimmers have an advantage in this situation.
In theory, and according to all regulations, swimmers and sailing vessels should never be in the same area. The Rulebook on the conditions and manner of maintaining order in ports and other parts of internal sea waters and the territorial sea of the Republic of Croatia defines what they can and cannot do.
Swimming is prohibited in ports, port approaches, narrow waterways, and canals where navigation is carried out. Furthermore, swimming outside the floating protective fence on organized beaches and in natural swimming pools more than 100 meters from the shore is forbidden.
In natural bathing areas, where the configuration is such that navigation is impossible, such as shoals, reefs or rocks, you can swim more than 100 meters from the shore. Likewise, they can swim 100 meters away from the shore if they participate in an organized sports activity, but they must get permission from the harbour master. Swimmers from boats are allowed to swim near the boat; when it is anchored, its propeller is out of order, and by swimming, they do not endanger their safety or the safety of other boats. The same regulation prohibits sailing, docking, anchoring and tying up within the regulated bathing/swimming area.
Restrictions for vessels are specified in the Ordinance on the safety of maritime navigation in internal sea waters of the territorial sea of the Republic of Croatia. It is clearly stated that yachts and boats in navigation near an arranged swimming/bathing area must be at least 50 meters away from the floating protective fence and at a natural bathing area of more than 150 meters.
Otherwise, for sailing outside natural or organized bathing areas, ships and seaplanes may not approach the shore less than 300 meters, yachts 150 meters, and motor boats and sailboats 50 meters from the shore. They can sail shorter distances than those mentioned only to enter the port, the anchorage, or to dock along the coast. Still, they must reduce their speed to easily and quickly perform the turning and stopping manoeuvre. Boats without mechanical propulsion may sail indefinitely in an area up to 50 meters from the coast.
The Rulebook further states that vessels up to 150 meters from the coast must sail with special attention and at speed not exceeding 5 knots and in the area from 150 to 300 meters from the shore not exceeding 8 knots.
Planing (speed boats and motor yachts) can only be done more than 300 meters from the coast if it is not prohibited in that area. Such areas are determined by the competent port authority and published in official nautical charts and publications. Once the boat begins planing, resistance decreases. Since less of the yacht is submerged, it results in less drag, allowing the boaters to attain high velocities while consuming less fuel.
When exercising legal powers, these regulations do not apply to public ships and small boats (police boats or safety vessels).
To ensure maximum safety during maritime activities, it is crucial always to maintain a safe distance between sailing boats.
Typically, a minimum distance of around 50 meters (approximately 164 feet) is recommended to avoid collisions and allow for manoeuvring. However, specific regulations and guidelines may vary depending on the area, type of vessels, local conditions, and designated sailing lanes or restricted zones.
Responsibility for the safety of an anchored yacht or boat falls on the person operating it. They should follow the instructions of the concessionaire or Harbourmaster's Office concerning safety. When anchoring a vessel, the operator must ensure that the vessel is sufficiently distanced from nearby vessels in all directions and in all weather conditions.