Harbour Master


Officials are particular about the Turkish courtesy flag, which must be flown from the correct position between 0800 and sunset when cruising. The courtesy flag may be left up permanently when in port.

Yachts flying the ensign of the Republic of Cyprus will be refused entry to Turkish ports. This situation will, presumably, change if/when Turkey becomes a member of the European Union, but at present this rule is being enforced.


On Arrival

Any other yacht coming from abroad must fly the Q flag and complete formalities at an official port of entry.

On entry, formalities are completed with Harbourmaster, Health, Passport Police and Customs in this order. It is no longer possible to clear in and out on your own, all yachts must use an agent. Marinas usually act as one's agent, alternatively shop around, agents are not just on the waterfront, many travel agents act as yacht agents as well. Fees can vary greatly. The agent will provide the transit log and deal with formalities.

Each yacht must purchase a Transit Log, which is the travel document of the yacht during her stay in Turkey and states the yacht's master, owner, intended ports in Turkey and registered inventory. See Documents for further details.

The skipper's name should appear on the yachts' registration certificate or on some official proof of ownership. Generally, it is wise to ask for receipts for any payments.


Remaining in Turkey

Foreign-flagged yachts, on condition that they are sailed by their owners once every two years, can remain in Turkey up to five years without a requirement for any permission.





Transiting The Bosphorus or The Dardanelles

When within 5 miles of the entrance into either the Bosphorus or the Dardanelles, boats should contact Traffic Control for further instructions. Although this provision only applies to boats over 20 metres LOA, it is recommended that smaller boats also comply with it. Boats in possession of a transit log are no longer required to stop at Canakkale and may proceed through the Dardanelles without stopping. The regulations are similar for boats going through the Bosphorus, who may continue towards ports on the Turkish Black Sea coast without stopping.


On Departure

Departure from Turkey must be from an official port of entry. If a yacht is leaving Turkish waters (even for a brief period) and planning to return within the time the transit log is valid, it must be surrendered on departure, and a new one obtained on re-entry.

When departing for foreign ports, yachts are required to complete full clearance procedures and surrender of the Log with Harbourmaster, Passport Police, and Customs, in that order.

Please note that Visas for individuals are multiple entry, but the Transit Log is not. If Turkey is left in an emergency, without having been able to clear out correctly, the completed Section V should be handed in to a Turkish consulate abroad within one month, otherwise the yacht cannot return.

It is recommended to avoid zigzagging between Turkish and Greek waters. Both countries insist on arrival from abroad to be made only at an official port of entry.

Last updated November 2012.



Visitor Visas

As of February 2012, the visa rules have changed for ALL nationalities, limiting visitors to 90 days in the country in every 180 day period. If you wish to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in a 180 period (starts when you get your visa), this is now only possible with a Residence Permit (see below).

On a tourist visa, you can spend 90 days in Turkey, check out, then spend 90 days in Greece, check out, then come back to Turkey for the next 90 in 180-day period. The visa is multiple entry, but the transit log is not, so checking your boat in and out multiple times is not practical. You need to be very careful about counting the exact days.

Citizens of most African, Far Eastern and Pacific Island countries will require a visa in advance of arrival. Allow up to 2 months for the processing of these visas. See Turkish Consulate for more details for the requirements for individual nationalities.

Visa fees are charged in UKP for the United Kingdom, Euros for eurozone countries and in US$ for all others.

You can now apply for an entry visa to Turkey online. Go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/For a list of countries eligble to apply for an e-visa see the section "get information" on the web page.


Entry Requirements - Passport validity & space for visa stamp
You must hold a valid passport to enter Turkey. Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Turkey and have at least three months validity from the date you are exiting Turkey.

You should ensure that your passport has a blank page for a visa stamp.  If it does not, the Turkish Authorities will issue a one-off “Entry-Exit form” and put your entry-exit stamp on there.  You should carry this form with you in Turkey and present it to the border officers, when you leave Turkey.

After 31st December 2012 all foreign passport holders will be refused entry to Turkey if their passport does not have a blank page for the entry visa and entry/exit stamps.

Remember, this applies to both visitors on a visa, and also residents with an ikamet.  Foreign residents still have their passports stamped with 'in and out' visa stamps, (they just don't get a visa sticker).


Overstaying your Visa

Staying in Turkey beyond the date of your visa is taken seriously by the Turkish Authorities. If you overstay you will be fined upon departure. Fines vary according to the length of time you overstay. If you overstay and are fined, you must apply for your next visa at a Turkish Embassy or Consulate overseas before you travel. You may also be banned from re-entering Turkey for a period of time.


Residence Permits

Residence Permits are available for periods starting from 90 days up to 5 years. They are multiple entry, however departure and entry dates continue to be stamped in your passport. The maximum permitted period on first application is 2 years. Longer periods up to 5 years are possible on subsequent application. Note: We have received information that the permit will be dated from your first entry into Turkey, not from your application date.

A foreigner who is the owner of a yacht, his wife and children and crew can obtain longer term Residence Permits using the transit log as "proof of accommodation" (see information on Transit Logs below in Documents). This new rule was passed May 2012 and greatly simplifies the process of getting a residence permit as a marina contract or shipyard contract, nor proof of income, are required.

Agencies charge approximately US$60 per person for obtaining a permit, therefore you save little money trying to do it yourself (which can be very tedious).

A new law re. residence permits will come into effect on 10th April 2014. Foreigners will be able to apply for a Short Term Residency, up to a maximum of one year. Or, providing they meet certain criteria, foreigners may apply for permanent long term residency - i.e. residency with no expiry date.

For further visa information call 09068 347348.

NOTE: Passports must be stamped if leaving by other means than by yacht, as the police do not normally stamp passports of people entering by yacht and these stamps are necessary to leave the country overland or by air.

It is illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. It is therefore advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.

Last updated April 2013.



There are some regional differences in customs formalities. In the past, some captains have been asked to produce a certificate of competence when clearing in, and if unable to do so the yacht was not allowed to leave port.

A detailed inventory must be completed and stamped by Customs. This form will be compared with a similar produced on exit from the country. Any differences must be supported by a purchase receipt or sales receipt (with customer details).

All types of firearms must be declared, and will be sealed on arrival by customs. Also, diving tanks must be declared.

Antiques cannot be exported. If carpets are bought, the customs will require to see proof of purchase. Antique objects must be accompanied by a non-objection certificate issued by the Ministry of Culture.


Replacement Parts

Getting the customs duty waived on yacht equipment that has been ordered from abroad is a lengthy and frustrating procedure, so it might be easier to try and bring any equipment needed into Turkey as personal luggage or use an agent. Although the agent's fees may be very much higher that the value of the item.

Such items MUST be marked "YACHT IN TRANSIT". It has been reported that this is easier in Istanbul than some other ports. Since Turkey is now in a customs union with the European Union, imports from other parts of Europe may be easier in future.

In such a case it is advisable to have a copy of the ship's papers as well as some form of proof that the yacht has been left temporarily in Turkey. Items brought in personally with a value over US$300 will be registered into one's passport. This will be cancelled when the entry is transferred to the transit log. Equipment couriered directly should be addressed to the marina, and the marina's advice should be sought in advance as to the correct procedure as well the best company to use.

It also helps to be near a major airport or seaport such as Antalya, Istanbul or Izmir.

A better solution might be to ask a local chandlery to order the parts for you, as the price then paid will probably be cheaper and involve much less hassle.


Leaving your yacht in Turkey

Yachts may be left in Turkey for 2 to 5 years (depending on the port) without incurring duty.

Special formalities must be completed if the yacht is to be left unattended in Turkey and the crew leave the country by other means. The forms are available from marina offices and must be stamped by customs.

Yachts can be left for up to two years in bond at a boatyard or marina for maintenance and repair purposes. In this case marinas must make an application to the local customs office.

A yacht laid up for the winter in a marina or boatyard that is used by the owner at least once every two years may remain in Turkey for up to five years without needing to obtain further permission. Extensions may be available to this five-year period. When the owner leaves Turkey the yacht must be placed in Customs Bond; however, to take a yacht out of bond it is no longer necessary to obtain a new transit log if it has not expired.

Last updated May 2012.


Hepatitis, polio and typhoid vaccinations are recommended.

There are good medical facilities in towns and cities.

A free interpretation service is now offered 7 days 24 hours for
foreign persons calling the 112 emergency call  command centre. This service is also available to foreign persons calling up 184 (the ministry of health communication centre), calls to all private and public hospitals under the Ministry of Health, provincial organization and administrative units of the central organization and foreign persons coming to these units.

In addition, this service is available to all foreign patients and tourists for health-related issues and includes translations of medical reports of foreign patients treated in the hospitals under Ministry of Health.


Transit Logs

Each yacht must purchase a transit log at the first port of entry. The cost is not high, approx. 40 Euros. This is the travel document for the yacht during her stay in Turkey and states the yacht's master, owner and intended ports in Turkey.

There used to be an inventory section on page 1 of the transit log. However now that agents must be used, cruisers report that they are no longer asked for an inventory list.

Foreign flag yachts may cruise on the routes shown in their transit log and call and anchor at harbours along the route where there is no customs office, for sightseeing purposes, on condition that there are no other restrictions.

The transit log is valid for one year (365 days) and is renewable ad infinitum. Your boat needs to leave the country (for one day) at least once every five years. The transit log remains valid even if the yacht is laid up. If the owner leaves without the yacht, the transit log will still be valid on return provided that date is within the 365-day period.

The transit log is single entry, if you check out, you need to buy a new one at re-entry. The existing Transit Log must be cancelled and a new one obtained if there is a change of owner.

Any crew changes must be entered on the log and authorised by the Harbourmaster at the port where the change takes place.

The Transit Log can now be used as "proof of accommodation in Turkey" for every crew member listed on it, when applying for a Residence Permit.



A great deal of confusion surrounds the regulations concerning restrictions imposed on foreign yachts cruising in Turkey, which are suspected of chartering. A change of crew, even if these are friends of the owner, is sometimes interpreted by some harbourmasters as being equivalent to the arrival of a charter party. However, regulations have been greatly eased in recent years and the ownership issue (i.e. the owner must be on board and Turkish law does not allow more than four co-owners) is no longer applied with such severity.

Last updated May 2012.


Transit Log

Fees for the transit log vary by province. For example, in Mugla province a transit log costs 79TL (34 euros/US$46). If the boat does not have the owner onboard the log will cost more.

Yachts chartering can obtain a license which costs upwards of US$1500.

However, the Chamber of Shipping charge an additional fee (called "Sectoral Services Share") of 46 TL, for yachts 0-49 Gross Tons, and 57 TL for yachts 50 Gross Ton+.

The agent, now necessary for obtaining a Transit Log, can add another 50 euros or more to the cost.

Also, there are more charges for the Transit Log Formalities as follows:
7.55 TL for yachts over 9.50 Net Ton
60 USD+Tax 18% for yachts between 30-50 Net Ton
72 USD+Tax 18% for yachts between 51-100 Net Ton

Other Fees

Agencies will charge between 30-100 Euros for checking-in.

Agencies will charge approx. US$50 for obtaining a residence permit. The permit (or Blue Book as it is called) will cost around US$100 per person.

Lighthouse Fees by Directorate General of Coastal Safety of 1.2 USD/Net Ton for yachts over 101 Net Ton.

Health Office Duty Charges of 0.20 TL/Net Ton for yachts 51 Net Ton +

A navigation aids fee is payable by boats over 30 tons.

There is a charge of 40 to 50TL for stamping a yacht inventory form.

Overtime charges seem to vary from place to place, so if at all possible it is advisable to clear in and out during office hours on normal working days.

Visa fees are payable for some nationalities.

Last updated May 2012.



One of the owners (a yacht may have up to four co-owners) is not on board it is up to the skipper to convince the authorities that the yacht is not chartering.

A foreign yacht used for commercial purposes on entering Turkey will receive a Transit Log just to visit one Turkish port and will have to sail from there to a foreign port only. A charter yacht intending to be based in Turkey may obtain a Charter License which will cost around US$1,500 (or more), which will permit the yacht to be subject for one year to the same regulations as Turkish flagged yachts.

Another option is for a foreign yacht to obtain a Turkish flag by being registered on the "Second Register", regardless of whether the yacht in question has been subject to Turkish VAT and Customs Taxes. An initial fee of US$10,000 is levied, followed by an annual fee of US$ 0.50 per Registered Tonnage.

Commercial, Fishing and Charter Boats (vessels over 15m)

From 1st Jan 2010 all such vessels must be equipped with an AIS system.



Prohibited areas for yachts are: no anchoring at the entrance and exit of the Dardanelles (Canakkale Bogazi, especially Gokceada and Bozcaada, region of Kumkale, Mehmetcik, Burnu, Ani, Korfezi); the zone north of the Bosporus, Gulf of Izmir, isles of Uzin and Hekim; the Bay of Karaagac; Oludeniz, Fethiye; parts of the ports of Mersin and Iskenderun; the submarine base in the inner port of Bartin Liman.

Entering some historical areas (like Hamam Bay) is prohibited.

Additional Restrictions in the Gocek Dalaman Area
- It is planned this area will be designated a sea park (as similar ones in Italy).
- Discharge of black and grey water is forbidden in this area (therefore a holding tank for all waste water is essential).
- Other than in the marinas, mooring is only permitted to fixed points (bouys, rock rings etc). 
- Anchoring is prohibited to protect the ecological underwater system. Only dedicated mooring points can be used.
- Maximum mooring period for boats in Gocek-Dalaman Coves is limited to 11 days.
- Speed limit is maximum 6 knots.
- Disturbing music is prohibited.
- Cooking on deck is prohibited.
- Diving in some coves is also prohibited.

Taking archaeological souvenirs can lead to confiscation of the yacht.



Skin diving is permitted everywhere, but diving with tanks is restricted. Originally divers must have registered with a Turkish diving club and be accompanied by a Turkish instructor when diving, but now these restrictions have been lifted, although it may be sometime before all authorities are aware of this.

The only areas prohibited from diving are military zones, those conducting scientific research and areas under protection.



Fishing is permitted for sport in certain areas, but there is a minimum size for fish caught and also the amount per person is controlled.


Discharge of Waste

The discharge of toilet waste is prohibited in harbours and enclosed bays. There are steep fines for breaking this law. Very few harbours have pump-out facilities, but tanks should only be pumped out 3 miles or more from the shore.


Mugla Province (encompassing the popular SW cruising areas from north of Bodrum to west of Fethiye) has passed regulations that requires vessels cruising in the area to have both black and gray water tanks. This regulation is not limited to larger boats or boats with over a given number of crew/passengers.

In reality few boats under 45' are equipped with or will find it easy to install practical gray water tanks. Cruisers report that in general, Turkish officials are reasonable in their enforcement of regulations and it is hoped there will be a certain understanding about the difficulties for small cruising boats in complying with this new regulation.

Yachts are legally required to carry "Blue Cards" that are scanned with each pump-out. Blue Cards are available from marinas in the Marmaris area, as are booklets explaining the scheme, and cost 20 Lira.

All the yachts details are 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 and for not having the card.

For the moment, it is uncertain how the authorities intend to enforce the use of Blue Cards/pumpouts. However cruisers should behave with common sense and sensitivity to Turkey's environmental concerns as the authorities are on the look out. Cruisers in Turkey recommend getting the card so at least your boat details are in the system and you won't get a fine for not having one.

For an update on the current situation see www.syfuga.co.uk/blue_card_scheme.htm and reports adjacent.

Last updated June 2012.


Clearance Agents

An agent is now required for clearance into Turkey and securing a Transit Log. In addition, agents can help with Visitor and Permanent Residency permits, Export and import, Gaining a permit to operate your yacht as a charter boat and Yacht registration.



Animals require a recent health certificate from the country of origin. A rabies vaccination certificate must show that the animal received the vaccination between 15 days and six months before arrival in Turkey.


NOTE : If you have an official certificate, you may bring one cat, one dog and 10 fish into the country.