The Black Sea – An Overview

The Black Sea is well documented in antiquity (e.g. Jason and the Argonauts, the Island of the Amazons, the Golden Fleece), when sailing on it in current times its sometimes appears to be better documented then than now. Mediterranean based societies such as the Greeks, Romans and Italians have all had settlements on the Black Sea while innumerable waves from Asia to the east have also touched its shores. Cruising it is rewarding but not as organised or predictable as the Mediterranean or other sailing destinations.

Note: This web-page is only partly complete, it is awaiting further information from cruising the eastern portion of the Black Sea.

The Black Sea on wikipedia

Charts, Pilotage and Bouyage

There are a two options for charts:

  • Paper charts
  • Electronic charts

We used electronic charts from Navionics which proved to have gaps, for example the marina at Sozopol Bulharia was not on the chart even though it was built prior to our chart being published.

The Black Sea is changing fast, not always in the same direction as different countries evolve in their own manner. New facilities are being constructed, some are suspeneded for a variety of reasons prior to completion of construction and some are reverting back to nature through lack of maintenance. Things that are “the norm” in one harbour may be unknown in the next harbour – especially if the harbours are on opposite sides of a national border.

The English language pilot book we used for the Black Sea was “The Black Sea” by David Barker and Lisa Borre, first edition, April 2012, published by Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson under the RCC Pilotage Foundation. Some caution should be exercised with this volume:

  • this publication based on the trip around the Black Sea made by the authors in the summer of 2010, the printing date is 2012.
  • not all harbours were visited by boat
  • the “chartlets” are sometimes bordering on illegible although this may be a printing problem
  • information has been included and printed as fact when it is actually “plans” expressed by local persons. An example is Sozopol Bulgaria where the marina publications state that”marina services will be offered 24 hours per day”, the pilot book prints this as”marina services are offered 24 hours per day”.When we visited there were days when nothing opened.
  • it seems that the reader’s comments were included literally and not verified.




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