Yachting in Italy: A captain and crew guide
Last updated: 15/03/2017
Set at the heart of the Mediterranean, Italy is a romantic yachting destination of astounding natural beauty. The coastline is bursting with beautiful towns and capacious marinas, offering plenty of marine facilities and space for the world’s superyacht fleet, perfected by glimpses of some of the most beautiful Mediterranean landscapes.
Yachting in Italy: Climate and attractions
When to visit Italy
As a thriving part of Europe with a typically Mediterranean climate, superyachts usually tend to flock to the waters of Italy throughout the summer months of April and October, when the climate and temperature is generally more stable.
January is commonly known to be the coldest month with temperatures dipping as low as -4°C in the north, and July and August are the warmest months, heating up to 32°C to 42°C.
The most popular yachting destinations in Italy are, from north to south down the west coast, Portofino, Portovenere, Porto Cervo and Capri, largely due to their outstanding natural beauty, unique charm and capable marine infrastructure.
According to Med Yacht Services, “In all these places, we can find any kind of attractions, from beautiful beaches, breathtaking views, natural parks, museums and historic architecture. All of these are worth being visited by guests as well as crew.”
Superyacht berthing: Ports and marinas in Italy
Italy boasts around 8,000 ports and marinas, but not all of these are equipped to deal with the demands of large superyachts.
The cost and availability of superyacht berthing across Italy, like most ports and marinas, varies across Italy. Med Yacht Services explained, “Berthing costs really do vary depending on several factors, such as the marina size, location and facilities, as well as the availability and demand of berthing. For this reason, it is very difficult to estimate an average price for mooring in Italy.”
Of course, it is recommended that captains plan well in advance of the peak summer season in order to secure berthing in the guest’s chosen destinations. A good yacht agent can usually help to facilitate short-notice berthing requests where possible.
Yacht fuel bunkering
Agents at Med Yacht Services explained that almost all of the marinas in Italy have on-site fuel stations in which all boats and yachts can refuel, but it’s also easy to arrange for bunkering lorries to deliver fuel at the yacht’s mooring or berth. “This practice is surely the most convenient and preferred, because, in some cases, the boat does not have to move from its berth. It is also possible to provide high quantities of fuel in this situation.”
There are three types of fuel available to yachts in Italy:
- Duty-paid fuel - Suitable for all boats
- Exportation fuel - For boats whose next port of call is within the EU
- Commercial, duty-free fuel – For commercial/charter yachts flying EU flags that are about to commence a charter or are in possession of valid documentation.
Customs, clearances and cruising regulations in Italy
When clearing into the country, it is fair to say that the Italian authorities are known to be firm but fair. The Italian police will often be very careful and precise in checking guest and crew passports each time the boat enters a port, largely due to past problems and historic issues.
Clearance formalities will depend on the kind of yacht (commercial or pleasure), the yacht’s flag, gross tonnage, the nationality of guests and crew on board and the port of call.
Clearances must be organised in every port that the yacht decides to stop, but are not compulsory for yachts under 24m, or those flying an EU flag. The captain must complete, stamp and sign several documents at least 24 hours prior to arrival. These rules vary port to port, depending on the requirements set by the harbour master. Once approved, yachts are welcome to anchor or berth at their preferred location.
Firearms and temporary imports must be declared on arrival in Italy. It’s advisable to monitor VHF channel 16 when in Italian waters, as failure to respond to a call from a customs patrol could result in a stop and search operation.
All yachts must carry their original registration document, crew list, proof of VAT status, third party insurance (€5million third party insurance is required, purchased through a recognised Italian company) and ship’s radio license. Italian police will typically ask to see identification should you be approached, so it’s advisable to carry ID at all times.
It is illegal for foreign yachts to charter in Italy. Anchoring is not permitted in the Strait of Messina and there are anchoring restrictions around the Italian coast, with yachts unable to anchor within 200nm of a beach or 100m of the coastline.
Further details can be obtained from your yacht agent. To search for a suitable yacht agent in Italy, click here.