It has been acknowledged in recent years that the Western Mediterranean, as a superyacht destination, is becoming more overcrowded and this, combined with improved facilities elsewhere, has led to a migration of the fleet away from the traditional cruising areas. One of the alternatives in the Eastern Mediterranean that has seen an increase of superyacht activity in recent years is Montenegro. Based in Porto Montenegro is 48m M/Y Mary A and we spoke to Captain Christian Collins about the benefits of, and his predictions for, the area.

Credit: Thierry Ameller

“Montenegro is central for the Adriatic so if you are heading to Turkey or Greece, it is a good stop,” explains Captain Collins. “You’ve got Croatia next door which is still very similar to Montenegro; very unspoilt coastlines and you can go from bay to bay without seeing another big boat. But then if you go up the coast and 80 miles across to Venice, you have three or four superyachts sat next to you. It is different scenery, anywhere else and it is chock-a-block full of boats and the same old crowds. Montenegro and the surrounding area has got everything that the rest of the Med offers, but it’s not packed.”

But how long will the area sustain this segregation and will the area soon become congested also? “I think over time it will get overcrowded,” Captain Collins speculates; “Porto Montenegro is expanding to over double the size and Boka Bay is another big development, so more and more yachts are going to go there. Especially for the winter it’s cheap; Porto has got a great deal on fuel so a lot of big yachts do go there to fuel up. We just fueled up there and we’ve had tax-free fuel for almost the whole season. That applies to all yachts; they have got to depart within 24 hours but that’s just going up to Croatia 30 miles away, which is nothing compared to the money you save.”

"There has been a lot more yachts anchored out. We had two weeks off between trips this season and for us to get on the dock was quite difficult because they were so busy."

Captain Collins went on to explain that there has already been a significant rise in the amount of yachts that are visiting the area. “When I first arrived there," he says, "It was just two building blocks and the main marina and now, in only my third year going back, it has really taken off. There’s definitely been a change in the amount of yachts coming here. There has been a lot more yachts I’ve seen anchored out. We had two weeks off between trips this season and for us to get on the dock was quite difficult because they were so busy. So it is picking up and definitely in the past few months they have seen a massive change. They’ve paused the expansion at the moment but the marina is going to double in capacity and cater for a lot larger boats.”

Captain Collins believes that the expansion may affect the original charm of the area. “Like with most places, once superyachts and these bigger boats start coming there things will start to go up to compete with everything else,” concludes Captain Collins. “At the moment it is very cheap over there but in a few more years when all these big boats start coming and people start to realise they can charge double for a cup of coffee. Then that might effect the way its opened up to the locals and the cultural appeal of the place.”