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Turkey's new cruising black/gray water rules, skipper qualifications

by Lee Mylchreest on 22 Jun 2014
Sailing in Turkey - it could be you down there SW
With friendly people, fair pricing and a sublime coastline, Turkey is now one of the most popular cruising grounds in the world. But if you are wanting to sail (on your own boat or chartering) in Turkey any time soon, you will need to know how strict the Turkish laws about black (sewerage) AND gray (shower runoff, deck cleaning, washing up water) have become. These restrictions apply even if you are more than three miles from shore.

In this latest move, the Turkish government has gone further than many European countries in protecting their pristine waters, and means that all cruising boats need to have both gray and black water holding tanks. This is NOT just for larger boats or those with passengers, it is for all cruising boats.

By December 31 2014, all yachts must have a 'Blue card' - a smart card obtainable from marinas or from Harbour Masters offices, that records boat and crew details.

From the yacht's details programmed into the 'Blue Card' (i.e. size of waste bin and capacity of holding tank), using a scale based on the number of persons aboard relative to the size of the holding tank, the local authorities work out how often you are 'obliged' to have your tank emptied. Fines are levied for not pumping out.

Reports from boats currently in Turkey say that the law had been in force for more than a year but it was only this year that officials were occasionally 'cracking down' on visiting boats .

Qualifications for sailing:
The Turkish government also asks that everyone using their waters must carry an Amateur Seaman's Certificate which is issued after an examination of more than 50 questions about sailing, weather, safety, technical issues, marine communication, law and international regulations.

But if the skipper of a leisure craft, sailing or motor, carries an ICC - the International Certficate of Competence, they do not need the Amateur Seaman's Certificate.

For comprehensive information on what you need to know before you go cruising in Turkey, go to Noonsite.
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