Turkey often represents the “furthest” cruising ground for boats leaving the North Sea coast and journeying to the Mediterranean. Beyond Turkey there is only a cul-de-sac trip to be made to the Black Sea or exit through the Suez Canal. Consequently many boats remain in Turkish or Greek waters as the climate is agreeable and the boating industry capable of supporting repairs and maintenance.
Maringret arrived to Turkey by the minority route of the Danube River – although we did meet a boat that had arrived via the Don River which is an even rarer distinction. As usual we intend to use this page to collect information useful to other boats: goods, services, procedures and regulations. Hopefully this information will be of use to others.
Lying outside the EU Turkey often has systems that are noticeably different from the EU which has some degree of harmonisation across countries. Turkish processes also seem to have a degree of regional variation that is much greater than other European countries. It is worth remembering the regional variations as procedures at one location often do not correspond to another location.
With the events of July 2016, some of the procedures encountered by Maringret and documented on this website have changed. These procedures and descriptions of facilities pertain to pre-July 2015. When Maringret exited Turkey in 2015 the checking out procedure had been changed by the government. But whether that was an intermediary change or the new standard we do not know.
Borders and Travel Permits
Turkey is neither in the EU nor in the Schengen Area so full border formalities must be observed. Most passports require a visa although the cost and duration seem to be different for each one. It seems that visas can be bought in advance via the internet or upon entry. In addition a Transit Log must be purchased for a foreign boat to remain in Turkish waters.
- Getting a Transit Log (in Istanbul)
- Renewing a Transit Log (in Istanbul)
- Tourist Visa versus Residency Visa
The Turkish currency is the Lira which is freely convertible to foreign currencies. Certain prices on imported items (e.g. yacht spares) can be priced in the foreign currencies and the price is calculated at the cashier when you pay. Also large items such as winter moorage and plane tickets can be priced in foreign currencies.
Diesel fuel is available at most large marinas. The price of diesel in Turkey is almost identical to the price in Europe.
The Turkish Meteo Office has:
The University of Athens has:
The Poseidon System at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research has:
Note: Poseidon’s availability from 2018 onwards has been intermittent. At the time of update the weather charts do not display on some browsers/computers; while the download of the images via ZIP file seems to work on all devices.
When sailing the Black Sea where swell is such a common occurrence we found the Interactive Forecast (Weather and Wave) to be excellent. You can drag a marker on a Google Map of the Black Sea and it will generate wave and wind profiles for that exact point. The forecasts were not always accurate, we would usually take all 3 forecasts and try to form a consensus from them.
Charts & Pilots
Maringret used Navionics digital charts. The data seemed to be taken from Turkish charts as all text was in Turkish. Some harbours were not on the charts and some were off by up to one nautical mile.
Mobile telephony in Turkey is like nowhere else, we cover it as we experienced it. It’s probably worth mentioning that the actual rules or procedures at TurkCell are very hard to nail down. For one thing the staff at each and every franchise we dealt with seem to completely turn over avery 3 months or so, which means that if you find someone who can assist you they will probably not be there after a few months. The rules are unclear even to Turks: senior people working in business accompanied us to try and unravel some of the mystery and were unsuccessful. They could only tell us “it doesn’t make sense but they insist that …” Rules like only being able to talk overseas for 3 hours per 30 days maximum. Also sometimes we would return for our monthly top-up to our regular franchise outlet and a staff member we had not seen before would insist that our phone could not be topped-up. It was pointless to argue, your choices are to come back later (or tomorrow) and get a different person, or go to a different franchise. We always were able to get our top-up but it wasn’t always straight forward.
WiFi is sometimes everywhere and sometimes impossible to find. Large marinas generally have it although where we wintered the WiFi was always “being repaired”. Generally the more European an establishment (e.g. a chain coffee shop outlet) the more likely it is to have free WiFi while the more Turkish an establishment, the less likely. A lot of transportation and government facilities give the impression of free WiFi but once investigated there always seem to be a requirement for membership, an account, etc.
- Ipra Gaz
- Marine Gas
– 2 kg bottles of 30% propane & 70% butane,
– height 27cm, diameter 20 cm,
– 40 TL deposit, 20 TL exchange,
– same fitting as UK butane fitting (uses Haywood fitting 4012)
As Istanbul is so large and dominates both the immediate area and the country, we have given it a page here.
For the rest of the country, any notes on chandlery options are in the moorage notes.
We have divided up the moorage coverage into 4 parts:
- Black Sea (Turkish north coast) – 25 moorages
- Sea of Marmara (including Istanbul, the Dardenelles and the Bosphorous) – 9 moorages
- Aegean (Turquoise Coast or western coast) – 46 moorages
- Mediterranean (southern coast) – 12 moorages
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