Hvar Boat Renters Want Certain Permits Abolished for Tourists – mon

Lauren Simmonds

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May the 1st, 2023 – Hvar boat renters want certain permits that tourists must get in order to operate small vessels abolished, and want the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to introduce a different approach.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Hvar boat renters are quite adamant in their demand for the aforementioned ministry to abolish the necessity of obtaining permits for tourists to operate boats up to five metres in length and with an engine power up to five kilowatts. They claim that in the European Union, with the exception of the Republic of Croatia, the only other country which seeks permits for the smallest vessels is Portugal. They propose that the Ministry allow Hvar boat renters to provide the training and issue the one-day permits themselves, as reported by HRT.

Zeljko Kustera of the Split Port Authority told HRT Dnevnik that the initiative had already started and that it was going to a public hearing.

“We deal more with security, and we deal with the economy. It’s legitimate for people to ask for their work to be simplified and for them. We recognise 53 licenses from various countries, from Australia, Canada, America, Brazil… so these licenses can be used,” he added.

Safety in navigation

“In order to be able to assess whether the initiative will threaten the safety of navigation, an accurate projection is needed. We must have an accurate projection. We have to take into account all the reasons for and against. The time to change the rules isn’t just before the summer season. We work on navigation safety all year round, not just in the summer. As soon as the number of vessels increases, the possibility of maritime accidents also naturally increases,” Kustera said.

Boat rentals are popular on the island of Hvar, as there are many islets and coves that can only be reached by boat

“They rent a boat to themselves for the whole day from 09:00 to 18:00, and during that period they’re alone on that boat, they don’t have any skipper, they have their privacy and enjoy themselves on that boat,” said Ljudevit Karkovic from Hvar for HRT Dnevnik, who believes it’s ridiculous to expect that a tourist will spend a day getting a permit for a one-day boat trip.

“Boats that go five miles per hour are very slow and in all these 40 to 50 years of renting them out, there has never been an accident with a major consequence, or an injury, let alone a death,” said Mate Novak from the Association of Craftsmen of the Island of Hvar.

Permits for the smallest category of vessels are obtained anyway without the need for any practical training, only with a short oral exam. “When a man comes and tells me that he has a license, I have to show him everything again, how to start the engine, how to drop the anchor, how to tie the boat up,” said Prosper Barbaric from Hvar.

One-day permits could be a practical solution for all

“There’s a possibility, if there is a will, to open a branch so that these people themselves can bear responsibility for all the consequences of the vessels, and that they take a short course,” explained Damir Visic, a court expert for maritime accidents.

Minister Oleg Butkovic does not support this initiative in principle because Croatian entry into Schengen will further increase the number of vessels in the coastal zone.

“It opens up the possibility for an increased number of accidents on the coast, so this decision is very delicate, I know, I’m familiar with it all and we will see, my position is not firm, I am always in favour of conversation and compromise,” said Oleg Butkovic, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

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