According to media reports, the Greek Marina’s Association (GMA) has reported that “a number” of foreign-owned yachts have left Greek waters due to new, increased taxes imposed on recreational vessels at the start of this year. The article also reveals that, according to GMA data, yacht owners have taken their boats from Greece to marinas at rival tourism destinations such as Croatia, Montenegro and Turkey. On further investigation, The Crew Report has discovered that the situation may not make a significant impact on the superyacht fleet.

“The tax on yachts was a much-debated subject prior to being sent to parliament for approval,” explains Mike Brewer, agency manager at A1 Yachting in Greece. “The Ministry of Economy, ignoring all speculation, decided to go ahead as it was deemed a necessary source of income. They were warned of the possible illegality of the law and Italy and Sardinia were mentioned. The law was passed and printed in the Government Gazette but until now has not been implemented.”

Flisvos Marina, near Athens.

“The actual amount of the tax is not severe and will certainly not deter a superyacht," he continues. "Costs for boats in excess of twelve meters are 100 euros per metre, per year and if the boat is permanently based in Greece then it is 30 per cent less. For non-permanent berthed yachts the charge is 10 Euros per metre, per month and if they leave before the month completes then the balance of time for the month is carried over until the next visit. Yachts conducting commercial activity pay 50 per cent less. Our customers that we have spoken to so far are not overly concerned as very few would cruise in excess of a month anyway and permanent berthed yachts have not made a move to leave. A visiting 50m private yacht would pay 500 euros for a month and a 50m commercial yacht would pay 250 euros - not an amount to be taken seriously.”

Sotiris Konstantakis, yacht manager at Cape 4 Yachting, also believes that this new development is nothing that the superyacht industry should be concerned about. “The costs are minimal relating to a yachts' annual expenses,” he says. “Add discounts for permanently moored yachts in a Greek marina and they are even lower. In the western Med using a buoy in a bay is about the monthly cost, whereas in Greece anchoring and stern mooring is free of charge on all the islands. Furthermore, there are practically no light and harbor master dues as there are in all other countries. The amount of money you are called to pay at the end of the day for berthing and maintenance year round are substantially higher in most countries compared to Greece. In practice, the final guidance to port authorities for the tax collection is still under review thus no one has paid it yet.”

While it is evident that tax and fees for yachts in Greece will be increasing in the near future, the notions that it will effect superyacht activity in the area appear to be unfounded as Greek waters still remain substantially cheaper to cruise in than some of its European neighbours.

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