Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harbour Formalities


Yachts flying the ensign of the Republic of Cyprus will be refused entry to Turkish ports. This situation will, presumably, change if/when Turkey becomes a member of the European Union, but at present (2006) this rule is being enforced.

On Arrival

Any other yacht coming from abroad must fly the Q flag and complete formalities at an official port of entry. On entry, formalities are completed with Harbormaster, Health, Passport Police and Customs in this order. Marinas usually act as one's agent and will both provide the transit log and deal with formalities. Often there is an additional cost for this service.

Transit Logs

Each yacht must purchase a transit log (from a marina, chamber of commerce or agency) which is the travel document of the yacht during her stay in Turkey and states the yacht's master, owner, destinations in Turkey and registered inventory. Any crew changes must be entered on the log and authorized by the Harbormaster at the port where the change takes place. The transit log is valid for 365 days and remains valid even if the yacht is laid up. More than one crew change or any change of skipper will require a new transit log to be purchased.

A new log must be purchased and completed on each arrival of a yacht from abroad. However, if the owner leaves without the yacht, the Transit Log will still be valid on return provided that date is within the 365-day period.

The yacht must not remain beyond the period of validity of the transit log. The intended ports of the cruise must be entered in the transit log. Foreign flag yachts may cruise on the routes shown in their cruise documents and call and anchor at harbors along the route where there is no customs office, for sightseeing purposes, on condition that there are no other restrictions

The skipper's name should appear on the registration certificate or on some official proof of ownership. Generally, it is wise to ask for receipts for any payments.

Remaining in Turkey

Foreign-flagged yachts, on condition that they are sailed by their owners once every two years, can remain in Turkey up to five years without a requirement for any permission. You can leave the country by another means of transport during this period after you leave your yacht at a marina or a moorage licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.

In subsequent ports the authorities may wish to see the transit log. There are some regional differences in customs formalities. In the past, some captains have been asked to produce a certificate of competence when clearing and if unable to do so, the yacht was not allowed to leave port.

It is recommended to avoid zigzagging between Turkish and Greek waters. Both countries insist on arrival from abroad to be made only at an official port of entry.

Curtest Flag

Officials are particular about the Turkish courtesy flag, which must be flown from the correct position between 0800 and sunset when cruising. The courtesy flag may be left up permanently when in port.
Transiting The Bosporus or The Dardanelles

When within 5 miles of the entrance into either the Bosporus or the Dardanelles, boats should contact Traffic Control for further instructions. Although this provision only applies to boats over 20 meters LOA, it is recommended that smaller boats also comply with it. Boats in possession of a transit log are no longer required to stop at Canakkale and may proceed through the Dardanelles without stopping. The regulations are similar for boats going through the Bosporus, who may continue towards ports on the Turkish Black Sea coast without stopping.

On Departure

Departure from Turkey must be from an official port of entry. If a yacht is leaving Turkish waters (even for a brief period) and planning to return within the time the transit log is valid, it must be surrendered on departure, and a new one obtained on re-entry.

When departing for foreign ports yachts are required to complete full clearance procedures and surrender of the Log with Harbormaster, Passport Police, and Customs, in that order.

Please note that Visas for individuals are multiple entry, but the Transit Log is not. If Turkey is left in an emergency, without having been able to clear out correctly, the completed Section V should be handed in to a Turkish consulate abroad within one month, otherwise the yacht cannot return.


Foreign sailors arriving in Turkey on their own yacht are now eligible for a two-year visa. A five year visa can be obtained in advance from the Turkish Diplomatic Mission in one's country of domicile.
Visas are not required for citizens of Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands and Spain.

Otherwise, for citizens of many countries, a maximum of 90 days stay will be granted on arrival (60 days for Albanians and Romanians, 30 days for Greek Cypriots).

Citizens of most African, Far Eastern and Pacific Island countries will require a visa in advance of arrival. Allow up to 2 months for the processing of these visas.

Visa fees are charged in UK£ for the United Kingdom, Euros for euro zone countries and in US$ for all others.

If one leaves Turkey and returns either after one's visa expiry date or within less than two weeks of its expiry another 90 day Tourist Visa will be granted. There is no restriction to the number of times this can be done. If on return there are more than two weeks remaining for the pre-departure visa, the Authorities may refuse to issue a new visa, although this is an old regulation. If at the port of entry immigration officers will not grant a new three-month (90 days) visa, one contact the marina for advice.

If staying longer than three months one has to apply for a residence permit and must prove adequate financial means. It maybe easier to leave and return after a reasonable period of time, re-enter Turkey and obtain a further three months, than to apply for an extension.

Residence Permits are available for periods starting from 90 days up to 5 years. They are also multiple entry, however departure and entry dates continue to be stamped in your passport. A foreigner who is the owner of a yacht, his wife and children and crew can obtain longer term Residence Permits, on condition that they have a fully paid contract to keep their yacht in a marina for at least the length of time of the Residence Permit application. The maximum permitted period on first application is 2 years. Longer periods up to 5 years are possible on subsequent application. You should seek the assistance of the Marina when making your application. Obtaining the Residence Permit might be impossible to accomplish without the support of the marina.


All types of firearms must be declared, and will be sealed on arrival by customs. Also, diving tanks must be declared.

Antiques cannot be exported. If carpets are bought, the customs will require to see proof of purchase. Antique objects must be accompanied by a non-objection certificate issued by the Ministry of Culture.
Getting the customs duty waived on yacht equipment that has been ordered from abroad is a lengthy and frustrating procedure, so it might be easier to try and bring any equipment needed into Turkey as personal luggage or use an agent. Such items MUST be marked "YACHT IN TRANSIT". It has been reported that this is easier in Istanbul than some other ports. Since Turkey is now in a customs union with the European Union, imports from other parts of Europe may be easier in future.

In such a case it is advisable to have a copy of the ship's papers as well as some form of proof that the yacht has been left temporarily in Turkey. Items brought in personally with a value over US$300 will be registered into one's passport. This will be cancelled when the entry is transferred to the transit log. Equipment couriered directly should be addressed to the marina, and the marina's advice should be sought in advance as to the correct procedure as well the best company to use. It also helps to be near a major airport or seaport such as Antalya, Istanbul or Izmir. Yachts may be left in Turkey for 2 to 5 years (depending on the port) without incurring duty.


An official transit log is required for all yachts cruising in Turkey. The log is issued at the first port of entry and is valid for 365 days. Yachts can be left for up to two years in bond at a boatyard or marina for maintenance and repair purposes. In this case marinas must make an application to the local customs office. A yacht laid up for the winter in a marina or boatyard that is used by the owner at least once every two years may remain in Turkey for up to five years without needing to obtain further permission. Extensions may be available to this five-year period. When the owner leaves Turkey the yacht must be placed in Customs Bond; however, to take a yacht out of bond it is no longer necessary to obtain a new transit log if it has not expired.
Change in crew must be entered in the Transit Log and authorized by the Harbormaster at the port where the change occurs. The existing Transit Log must be cancelled and a new one obtained if there is a change of owner. The owner must be onboard and Turkish law does not allow more than four co-owners. If one of the owners is not on board, or proof of ownership is inadequate, the transit log will cost US$50.

A great deal of confusion surrounds the regulations concerning restrictions imposed on foreign yachts cruising in Turkey, which are suspected of chartering. A change of crew, even if these are friends of the owner, is sometimes interpreted by some harbormasters as being equivalent to the arrival of a charter party. However, regulations have been greatly eased in recent years and the ownership issue is no longer applied with such severity.

Special formalities must be completed if the yacht is to be left unattended in Turkey and the crew leave the country by other means. The forms are available from marina offices and must be stamped by customs. The passports must be stamped if leaving by other means than by yacht, as the police do not normally stamp passports of people entering by yacht and these stamps are necessary to leave the country overland or by air.



One of the owners (a yacht may have up to four co-owners) is not on board it is up to the skipper to convince the authorities that the yacht is not chartering.

A foreign yacht used for commercial purposes on entering Turkey will receive a Transit Log just to visit one Turkish port and will have to sail from there to a foreign port only. A charter yacht intending to be based in Turkey may obtain a Charter License which will cost around US$1,500 for double berth (or more), which will permit the yacht to be subject for one year to the same regulations as Turkish flagged yachts.


Prohibited areas for yachts are: no anchoring at the entrance and exit of the Dardanelles (Canakkale Bogazi, especially Gokceada and Bozcaada, region of Kumkale, Mehmetcik, Burnu, Ani, Korfezi); the zone north of the Bosporus, Gulf of Izmir, isles of Uzin and Hekim; the Bay of Karaagac; Oludeniz, Fethiye; parts of the ports of Mersin and Iskenderun; the submarine base in the inner port of Bartin Liman.

Taking archaeological souvenirs can lead to confiscation of the yacht.


Skin diving is permitted everywhere, but diving with tanks is restricted. Originally divers must have registered with a Turkish diving club and be accompanied by a Turkish instructor when diving, but now these restrictions have been lifted, although it may be sometime before all authorities are aware of this.
Diving is prohibited in certain areas. See for the details.


Fishing is permitted for sport in certain areas, but there is a minimum size for fish caught and also the amount per person is controlled.

Discharge of Waste

While holding tanks are not yet required by law for foreign-flagged yachts, the discharge of toilet waste is prohibited in harbors and enclosed bays. There are steep fines for breaking this law. Very few harbors have pump-out facilities but tanks should only be pumped out 3 miles or more fronds the shore.

Please note that all above information is beleived to be true but not quarnateed as the laws are keep changing. Don't hesitate to contact me to have an update information.


Post a Comment