Boat Regulations in Turkish Waters

Regulations Concerning the Use of Foreign-Owned Yachts in Turkish Waters and Leaving them in Turkish Waters


Yachts entering or leaving Turkey shall make their entry or departure at frontier ports. Ports of entry along the Turkish coast are:

Marmara Sea

Aegean Sea

There are no standard harbor charges but some of the Ports of Entry may charge a small mooring fee. There are no official charges except purchase of the Transit Log. Marina stays are charged, of course.

The entire crew must have a passport valid for the length of stay in Turkey together with a visa. All visitors to Turkey must have a date stamp in their passport from Port of Entry and date stamp on departure. Visas at varying cost are required by citizens of all countries, although some are free, and can be obtained at Port of Entry or online. Usually these are valid for 3 months. Visas for a longer period can be obtained from Turkish Embassies in Country of Residence or for 1 year if an annual contract is held with a Turkish Marina.

If you wish to enter Turkey, after you have sailed through international ports and waters, then you are required to obtain a Yacht Registration Form (Transit Log), which contains information about yachts and yachtsmen. You will need to complete this form in accordance with the explanations given there and you will need to go through the Customs, Health and Port procedures as per the international regulations stated within those explanations and in accordance with your declaration.

The cost of the Yacht Registration Form (Transit Log) for foreign flagged private boats is USD 35.00 and it is valid for one year. This allows a yacht to travel freely in Turkish waters and may be inspected by any harbor official at any time. The Transit Log / Cruising Permit is valid for 1 year but is cancelled if a yacht leaves Turkey; or there is a change of ownership of the yacht; or for charter yachts, at the end of the cruise; or when the yacht owner or captain leave the yacht in a marina for laying up. Under any of these circumstances, a new Transit long will be required. On leaving Turkey it is cancelled and at the same time the exit stamp is entered in the passport.

However, if the owner of the yacht or the legal keeper of the yacht changes within that year and if the yacht leaves Turkish Customs Area or the Form is lost, then the term of validity of the Form comes to an end. It is possible to obtain a new Yacht Registration Form in such occurrences.

Importing Yacht Parts and Inventory Change

Foreign yacht-owners can import duty-free spare parts and equipment for use their yachts under customs authority control. These spare parts and equipment will be recorded in the inventory of the yacht. Whilst your yacht is in Turkey, if due to any reason (i.e. repairs, etc.) a change occurs in the inventory of the yacht, you will be required to have the necessary changes logged through the relevant Customs officials on your Yacht Registration Form.

Spare parts belonging to your yacht and other material will be allowed to remain in Turkey as long as your yacht remains in Turkey. If any spare part becomes redundant following repairs carried out on the yacht and the owner wishes to take it out of Turkey, then the owner will have to have such parts registered in the inventory list of the yacht. You can also leave your old spare parts with the customs officials.

Cruising in Turkish Waters

You, as the owner of the yacht and your guests on the yacht, are entitled to sail freely in Turkish waters and between ports, on condition that the purpose of the trip is not commercial. You may wish to sail between Turkish ports for the purpose of travel, leisure or sport.

As long as the captain, crew and the yachtsmen of the yacht remain the same on such trips, you can sail freely to the bays on your route, except forbidden areas, without the need to go through any procedures. If any change occurs between ports, in terms of your captain, yachtsmen or crew, then you should definitely make an application to the Director of Port in your area and obtain a confirmation for the change.

Foreign - flagged private yachts belonging to more than one owner and yachts belonging to an association or a yacht club, may be used by four keepers only in one year.

If you are in Turkey with your yacht and you wish to extend your visa for your stay, then you will need to allocate a marina or a mooring place licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, as your address of residence and after you notify the authorities of the address you will be granted an extension. In such cases, the extension you can be granted on your term of residence and visa may be no longer than 5 (five) years, depending on your term of contract that you have with the marina or the moorage.

You can also use your own vehicle freely, after you inform the Directorate of Customs, whilst you stay in Turkey under the term of your visa and residency. Should you wish to leave Turkey for a period of time temporarily with your yacht, you can leave your road vehicle, if you have one, which you have brought to Turkey, at places that are allocated and monitored by the Customs authorities.

If, for example, you or your family need to be collected from another port or taken to another port, then your captain, on condition that he has your written or fax instructions to do so, can obtain a permit to sail from the Directorate of Port and can sail to another Turkish port, forth and back, without any yachtsmen or guests on board.

Unless the authorities receive a complaint or a claim, which should be made in accordance with the regulations, no searches, either of your yacht or for any goods, will be carried out. However, if the authorities conduct a search upon receipt of a complaint or a claim through the appropriate channels and establish you to be in possession of goods that are forbidden to be taken into Turkey, then any such item or items will be seized by the customs authorities and will not be returned until your yacht leaves Turkish waters.

In such instances when you have to depart from or enter Turkey for reasons of emergency, extraordinary conditions or under the obligations set out by the Law protecting life and property afloat, it is an obligation to report the case to the Turkish officials at the first port of arrival.

Leaving Yachts in Turkish Marinas or Leaving Turkey

Foreign-flagged yachts, on condition that they are sailed by their owners once every two years, can remain in Turkey up to five (5) years without a requirement for any permission. You can leave Turkey by other means of transport during this period after you leave your yacht at a marina or a moorage licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.

When leaving Turkish ports for international ports with your yacht, you need to complete the relevant section of the Yacht Registration Form, have it confirmed by the Director of Port and complete the required procedures at the Customs Directorate.

Regulations for Tax-Free Diesel Fuel for Foreign Yachts

Foreign-registered yachts may obtain tax - free diesel fuel subject to the conditions set out below:

  • Tax-free fuel will be available for use only in foreign yachts and will be obtainable only from marinas and shipyards licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Tourism.
  • The owner of the yachts may be Turkish or foreign but must be a person having a permanent place of residence outside of Turkey.
  • The yacht may be brought to Turkey with the owner or may be brought two months earlier or later than the owner's arrival in Turkey.
  • The yacht may receive the tax-free fuel only in the presence of the owner.

Use of Vehicles by Foreign Yachtsmen

Foreign yachtsmen are allowed to use their foreign - registered vehicles in Turkey for 6 months in any one year. At the end of 6 months their vehicles must be taken out of the country. If the yacht owner or captain takes over the yacht, their vehicles must be put into the marina customs bond under the responsibility of the marina. The vehicles may be left in bond for up to 4 months. Before expiry, an application may be made to the chief customs authorities of the district for extension of period for a this period for a further 2 months. Foreign yacht owners cannot keep yachts and their vehicles on their passports at the same time. It is advisable that on entering Turkey, the yacht owners wife or friends have the vehicle recorded in their passport.

Underwater Diving

Diving for purposes of sport, with proper equipment and in non-restricted areas, is permitted. Foreign divers should have official documentation of their specifics and training and must be accompanied, when diving, by a licensed Turkish guide.

The limit for diving with diving gear is 30 meters. For educational purposes, this limit is extended to 42 meters. Dives exceeding 30 meters must be carried out with proper diving and medical equipment. In order to protect Turkish archaeological and cultural values, it is strictly forbidden to transport Turkish antiquities or natural specimens.

Note: Gelibolu (ancient Gallipoli) in the province of Çanakkale, known as Dardanelles, could be a good area for shipwreck diving. There are also many great diving spots in the Aegean sea.

Your Responsibilities

  • You are not allowed to use your private yacht for commercial purposes unless you obtain the necessary permission from the Ministry of Tourism.
  • You are not allowed to charge individuals you have declared as your guests for any cruises.
  • You need to be aware that if any untruthful declarations are being submitted, these will be subject to legal proceedings brought against you.
  • If you export any historical artifacts, you will be subjected to legal proceedings brought against you. Such an act constitutes a crime.
  • You should not engage yourself in any way of exchange of goods (buying or selling) that have not yet been through the necessary customs and duty procedures, with other yachts or ships. Such an exchange is illegal.
  • Such occurrences as stated above are considered as acts of crime internationally and in Turkey, and if such an act is established to have taken place then the legal proceedings to follow will be in accordance with the relevant legislation in Turkey.