Yachtsmen beware: here’s a crazy reason why you might be fined in Croatia

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It’s just past mid-August, and many of you will be on vacation sailing around the Mediterranean. A yachtsman on his way to Greece found himself passing through Croatian waters and was fined for what may seem like an absurd reason: once he had left port he was required by law to leave territorial waters as soon as possible. The letter was sent to the Journal of Sailing, but we republish it urging you to pay attention.

While sailing in Croatia a few days ago, immediately after exiting Dubrovnik to continue south to Greece next, we skirted the walls of the old city to take two photos of the Castle, after which we set sail. About 12-15miles to the south we were chased and stopped by a Croatian police patrol boat, which issued us an infraction to be paid immediately by credit card, initially of 650 kunas which a few minutes later became 1000 kunas. The rationale is that once an exit is made one must by law leave territorial waters as soon as possible.
The plotter photo shows our route and the point where we were stopped. The Dubrovnik port exit points north , so to go south you go in that direction anyway. We didn’t stop and didn’t station for a second.
We paid and kept quiet but I would like to know if anyone has had similar experiences.

PS : making a spannometric calculation I assume that the chase to recover the 1000 kunas fine to them cost at least 10000 kunas. According to the policeman, they give 10 tickets a day for the same reason.

Stephen

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