For decades, the majority of charter yachts operating in Greek waters flew that country’s flag. While non-Greek yachts have been able to book charters, this has required establishing a physical presence in the country. Newly passed regulations, however, change that. Greece yacht charters can occur aboard certain-size superyachts regardless of flag registry, and without the traditional licensing process.
This past April, the Greek parliament approved a new regulatory framework for yachting operations. It is part of a larger goal to promote regional tourism development. Simultaneously, the goal is to support residents and businesses of its islands and coastal communities. According to the Greek Shipping Ministry, all of this will spur port-infrastructure developments, among other investments.
Under the new law, megayachts measuring 115 feet (35 meters) and larger can book guests for Greece yacht charters through a fast-track procedure. Interestingly, the law goes so far as to say it doesn’t matter what the yacht’s construction material is. Additionally, it eliminates the need to establish a Greek company if your yacht flies a non-European Union (EU) flag. EU-flagged yachts, meanwhile, no longer need to establish a Greece-based branch office of the ownership company. Regardless, the fast-track procedure allows yachts to charter for a maximum of 27 days within one calendar year.
Charter brokers and owners are already welcoming the new regulation. The Cyclades and Ionian Islands, for instance, have long drawn cruising enthusiasts. The 27-day time period allows flexibility, too—say, three weeklong bookings or a combination of one weeklong trip and one extensive booking.
“The new legal framework paves the way for the maritime tourism industry to enter a new era with security, plan, and vision,” Yiannis Plakiotakis, the Greek Shipping Minister, told the parliament. He asserts that it will put “Greece on the map among the powerful states of modern yachting.”
For full details on how you can offer your yacht for charter there, consult a maritime attorney and yachting tax consultant.