TIPS ON SAILING & YACHT CHARTER IN CROATIA
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN PLANNING SAILING HOLIDAYS IN CROATIA
Here is all the information needed to help you plan your sailing holidays in Croatia. We suggest you take time to read them in order to turn your holidays into an experience of a lifetime.
IS SAILING IN CROATIA SAFE?
Croatia is one of the safest countries in the world. According to The Global Peace Index, Croatia is 27th on the list of the safest countries in the world as of 2020..
As per safety at the sea, the Adriatic is a generally calm sea, the distances between the islands are short and there are many protected bays and harbours where to hide from rough weather. However, you also need to be precautious, follow the weather forecast regularly and adjust your route accordingly to avoid sailing in rough weather. If you are going with a paid skipper, he will do his best to avoid rough seas by choosing the appropriate route or, if very rough, by choosing to stay in place until the weather calms enough to sail out.
WHICH KIND AND SIZE OF THE BOAT TO CHOOSE?
Before choosing a boat, answer the following questions:
- Does your group consist of pairs who can share the same cabin, or do some crew members require a separate cabin?
- What are your comfort requirements – would you like to charter a sailboat or catamaran?
- Would you mind if one of you would have to sleep in the saloon area which is a common living space?
- Do you require a skipper or not? If you need skipper’s services, bear in mind that the skipper sleeps on board as well, so one of the berths, ideally a cabin, should belong to him.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO RENT A BOAT FOR A PERIOD SHORTER THAN A WEEK?
In the main season, boats are scheduled for a week long (Saturday-to-Saturday) charters and we can hardly step away from that schedule, except with some last-minute charters.
However, in case you would desire to take a several days’ long sailing trip in the off-season (October – April), it can be organized, and the price is then calculated according to the number of days spent onboard as listed in our price list here.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED FOR A BAREBOAT CHARTER?
In case of a bareboat charter, the client must be in possession of a certificate of competence in order to charter a boat. It is also a legal requirement that one person on board is qualified for operation with the VHF station. If you are not sure whether the license you have is valid for bareboat charter in Croatia, check if it is listed here.
WHAT IF YOU DO HAVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE BUT NO FORMAL QUALIFICATIONS?
You can book a boat in advance, but under the mutual agreement that you will obtain the required certificates by the moment of checking-in on the boat. Otherwise, you will have to hire a paid skipper.
WHEN TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL SKIPPER?
In case you have no sailing experience or you do not possess a sailing license, you are obliged to hire a skipper in order to charter a boat in Croatia. Sometimes, if not often, even very experienced sailors hire a professional skipper, either because they are not familiar with local waters or in order to make their cruise more relaxing. You can also benefit from skippers’ local knowledge – they are well acquainted with the Adriatic region and will be able to suggest you the most interesting places for swimming and fun, as well as numerous restaurants. Depending on your wishes, we ourselves can find a skipper for you or you can hire him yourself, in case you have some recommendations. You can read more about skippered charters on our blog post about skippered yacht charter in Croatia.
HOW MUCH DOES THE HOSTESS COST AND WHAT ARE HER DUTIES ON THE BOAT?
Hostess’s duties on the boat include:
- buying groceries
- preparation and servicing of two meals per day: breakfast and lunch or dinner
- washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, toilets, saloon and cockpit area
- recommending places to visit, restaurants, nice bays for swimming, nightlife spots
Weekly fee for her services is 875€ for up to 6 guests and 1.050€ for more than 6 guests plus the responsibility to cover the cost of her meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. More information about chartering with a hostess can be found on our blog about crewed yacht charter.
WHAT ARE OTHER COSTS TO BE CONSIDERED EXCEPT BOAT CHARTER ITSELF?
Apart from the fees paid directly to us (boat rent, charter pack, requested extras), when planning your budget, you need to consider the following costs as well:
FUEL – dependent on the motor usage (ca. 5 liters per hour multiplied by the price of diesel fuel which amounts ca. 1,5 € per liter, and further multiplied by 3 hours of average daily motor usage – as calculated on the basis of our past experience), it amounts up to ca. 150€ – 200€ per week for monohulls and 250€ for the catamaran.
MOORING FEES – The price of the berth per day ranges from ca. 20 € to 200 €, depending on the size and type of the boat and the mooring place and type. More about different berth options and mooring fees you can find here.
SECURITY DEPOSIT payable either in cash or by preauthorization on VISA OR MASTER credit card during check-in. It covers any possible boat, equipment, and inventory damage. In case of boat damage or equipment loss, the amount of the caused damage is paid with the deposit money, whereas the difference between the deposit money and any higher damage amount is covered by the insurance company. If the boat has been returned undamaged, the deposit will be refunded in full amount. When you hire a skipper, he is the one responsible for all the damage caused while maneuvering, mooring or anchoring the vessel; but you are obliged to leave the deposit anyway, to cover any possible damage caused by your party.
FOOD – You are supposed to take care of your own feeding, either when preparing meals on the boat or when eating out. We suggest that you buy some provisions (at least drinking water) in a supermarket before boarding the boat. However, you shouldn’t make lots of provisions since on each island you have both shops and supermarkets working even on Sundays till late. Not to mention the numerous little restaurants offering delicious local and international specialties at fair prices.
WHICH CURRENCY IS USED FOR PAYING IN THE MARINAS, RESTAURANTS…ETC.?
All the services in Croatia are paid in Kuna, either in cash or by credit cards. In marinas and some tourist offices, even Euros are accepted. In all marinas, restaurants and shops in bigger places on the islands, you can pay by credit card, while in ports, cafés, restaurants and shops in small places and bays usually only cash is accepted. Therefore, you need to calculate the amount in cash you might need, depending on your planned route. As for kunas, you can withdraw cash from an ATM or in bank offices, which can also be found on the islands.
HOW TO PACK AND WHAT IS PROVIDED ONBOARD?
Apart from your personal preferences, this depends very much on the time of the season you are coming in. Generally, we can advise the following:
IN ANY SEASON
Sunblock, hat, sunglasses with straps, waterproof pouches for mobile phone and camera, medicaments that you usually use, soft shoes, windproof jacket, soft bags
IN HIGH SEASON
Swimsuit, t-shirts, shorts, sandals, flip-flops, light summer dresses, light shirts
IN LOW SEASON
Fleece jacket, sweater, warm trousers, and wet weather gear
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN
Favourite movies or cartoons on DVDs, board games, music, books
THING WE WOULD RECOMMEND NOT TO BRING WITH YOU
Hard suitcases, high heels, hard shoes, very fine clothes
Valuable items such as golden necklaces, watches, earrings etc. In case you finally decide to have such things with you, remember to check if you have everything before you leave the yacht. Two pairs of soft boat shoes would be our recommendation. If possible, do not bring any hard suitcases with you. The storing space on board is limited and such suitcases are difficult to be stored. It should be much better to use soft fabric bags. They can be easily folded and stored anywhere.
sheets, blankets, pillows, pillowcases and towels
Children can go sailing with you at an early age (confirmed by our personal experience). In fact, there is no age limit, however, their stay onboard should be closely monitored by adults. We provide lifejackets for children as well, that they should wear all the time onboard. You should also consider choosing shorter routes and visiting marinas more frequently for the sake of the safer berthing as well as comfort.
WHICH ROUTE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
This certainly depends on the length of your charter and your preferences. Maybe you are more into sightseeing and exploring new areas or perhaps you rather want relaxed boating holidays without the pressure of having to see as much as possible. On sailing routes Croatia pages we suggested five routes, and by choosing any of them you will not make a mistake. In any case, having explained your preferences to us, we certainly recommend discussing this matter further.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE IN CROATIA?
The climate at the Dalmatian coast and islands is a typical Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winters, sunny, hot and dry summers. The air temperature changes depending on the area: generally, it is warmer towards the south. Thus, summer temperatures in July and August will be about 34°C in the northern part, while in the southern part they will rise even to 38°C. In the winter, on the north of the Adriatic, the coldest recorded temperatures go down to -16°C, while in the southern part they usually do not go below 6°C. Light to moderate winds with few storms prevail until June and from September, while July and August are calm with an occasional thundery rain shower. Generally speaking, on the Dalmatian coast, May, June, September and October are the best months for sailing holidays in Croatia for those who prefer to avoid excessive heat and crowds. July and August, on the other hand, are for those looking for real summer holidays with a lot of swimming and sunbathing.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE SEA TEMPERATURES IN CROATIA?
The Adriatic Sea has a very marked annual change of the surface temperature. The average annual temperature is 11°C. During the winter, the sea is the coldest and the surface temperature is about 7°C; very seldom, it can even drop below that. In the spring, the sea becomes warmer, and the surface temperature rises up to 18°C. In the summer, the surface of the sea reaches a very high temperature, of up to 22 to 25°C, and in the southern Adriatic and Istria up to 27°C. You can check the current sea temperature by clicking here; while below you can find monthly means of the sea temperature in Split area from April till October (the months of the charter season in Croatia):
APRIL – 15°C
MAY – 18°C
JUNE – 21°C
JULY – 24°C
AUGUST – 25°C
SEPTEMBER – 23°C
OCTOBER – 20°C
IMPORTANT! The above values are the average temperatures of each month, what means that in the months preceding the peak of the season (15.07.-15.08.), the sea temperatures are lower than the average in the beginning of the month and higher than the average in the end of the month; while in the months after the peak of the season, the sea temperatures are falling down towards the end of the month.
WHAT ARE THE PREVAILING WINDS IN CROATIA?
In the Adriatic, there are several kinds of winds, while the main ones are BURA (BORA) and JUGO (SCIROCCO), which prevail in the period from September to May. The prevailing summer wind is MAESTRAL.
TRAMONTANA – The name of this wind is derived from Latin – transmontanus- meaning across the mountains. It is a type of bora (but not so strong), a northerly cold wind of moderate strength that usually forms in clear and nice weather.
BURIN – A north-easterly wind, blows in the summer from the mainland.
BURA – The bora is a cold and dry north-easterly wind. It brings bright weather. The bora starts abruptly and blows in squalls toward the sea. It is the strongest in the Velebit Channel. In Croatia, it blows predominately in the winter and it may last for six to fourteen days. In that period, it reaches stormy speeds of up to 300 km/h. In the summer, the bora blows as a local wind and lasts only a few days blowing in much lighter speeds, predominately in the night time when the land cools down.
LEVANAT – An easterly type of bora
JUGO – The jugo is a warm, humid east-southeast wind. It is accompanied by heavy clouds and rain. It is not a sudden wind like the bora but takes 36-38 hours to develop. It blows throughout the Adriatic. In the summer it may appear as a local wind and is more frequent in the southern part of the Adriatic. Between March and June, it blows in the north as well.
LEBIĆ – A south-westerly, humid and warm wind. In the summertime brings freshness while in the winter rain and snow. It is rising across the Adriatic after Jugo, doesn’t last long. Announced by extremely high tides it gives poor visibility and it might give violent squalls (lebicada). It is dangerous in shallow harbours that are open to the south-west because of wave “crossing” and rising of the sea surface.
PULENAT – A westerly wind, starts suddenly, doesn’t blow often or long but in winter time can reach significant strength. It brings short lasting but heavy rain, creates high and long waves, extremely unpleasant and dangerous, especially in the longitudinal channels.
MAESTRAL – A local wind which blows from the sea, mostly in the summer – it is the strongest in July and August and very much welcomed by the sailors who have their sailing holidays in that period. It usually starts between 10 and 11 in the morning and reaches its greatest strength between 2 and 3 in the afternoon to die down at sunset. It brings good weather and it is usually accompanied by white clouds.
WILL I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH SEASICKNESS?
Seasickness is a form of motion sickness. If you tend to get motion sick when travelling by car, bus, train or plane, you might also experience seasickness while on a sailboat. Good news is that, following a few simple rules, you can prevent seasickness. What you should do is: take a pill against seasickness about half an hour before you set sails, stay outside while sailing and look in the distance, not read books or magazines, not read from your phone, not consume food and drinks that irritate the stomach either before or during sailing.
The Ariatic is a generally calm sea, the distances between the islands are short and there are many protected bays and harbours in which you can hide from rough weather. However, you should also take some measures in order to prevent seasickness.
If you are bareboating you need to check the weather forecast regularly and adjust your route accordingly to avoid sailing in rough weather.
If you are going with a paid skipper, he will do his best to avoid rough seas by choosing the appropriate route or, if very rough, by choosing to stay in place until the weather calms enough to sail out.