How to import and register a boat in Croatia: Guide for 2024

Register a boat in Croatia
Boats and yachts in Korčula, Croatia

UPDATED: 17.5.2024.

Sailing is an excellent way to explore the Adriatic coast and its hidden treasures – it gives you the freedom to move and decide where you want to go next. If you are considering sailing to Croatia on a boat you own, you are in the right place. 

This article explains how you can import or register a boat from the EU Member States or third countries to Croatia. Once you bring your boat, get a Croatian fishing license and enjoy the best fishing locations Croatia has to offer.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Categorization of boats in Croatia

According to their purpose, boats in Croatia are categorized into:

  • Brodica za osobne potrebe (boat for personal use)
  • Brodica za gospodarske namjene (boat for commercial purposes)
  • Javna brodica (public boat)

Boats for commercial purposes include:

  • Passenger boats
  • Cargo boats
  • Work boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Other types of boats for commercial purposes

[Read: Guide to ferry and boat travel in Croatia]

How to import a boat to Croatia

If you want to import a boat to the territory of an EU Member State, including Croatia, you must prove its carinski status (customs status).

According to the customs status, boats can be treated as:

  • EU goods or domaća roba (domestic goods)
  • Non-EU goods or strana roba (foreign goods)

Import of EU boats to Croatia

Boats that have the status of EU goods can be used in the customs territory of the European Union, including Croatia, without customs formalities and time limits.

The boat’s ownership, the flag, and the entry in the register of vessels in the EU Member State are not considered proof of being an EU good. You must prove the status of an EU good with a specific document that must be kept on the boat.

To prove your boat is an EU good, you may provide:

  • T2L or T2LF, issued and certified by the customs office of an EU Member State responsible for the location of the vessel at the time the document is issued (PUCZU’s Article 205)
  • Original invoice or transport document (PUCZU’s Article 206)
  • Customs goods manifest

PUCZU is Provedbena uredba Komisije (EU) which translates as Commission Implementing Regulation (EU). It is available here.

An invoice must contain:

  • Name and address of the sender of the person concerned
  • Marks and packing reference numbers
  • Description of the goods
  • Gross weight
  • Value
  • T2L code
  • Signature of the person submitting T2L
  • Competent customs office

A certification from the customs office on the invoice is not needed for boats whose total value is up to 15.000 euro. If the boat is worth more than 15.000 euro, you need this certification.

If the boat leaves the European Union’s customs territory, it loses the status of EU goods. If it leaves the territory and returns, it may still keep the status of EU goods. To keep the status, visit the customs office and submit one of the documents listed in PUCZU 2015/2447 on defining detailed rules for the implementation of specific provisions of Regulation (EU) 952/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the Union Customs Code.

Import of non-EU boats to Croatia

Boats that have the status of non-EU goods are subject to customs formalities and all prescribed import duties. To release the boat to free circulation, you must submit a customs declaration to the competent customs office. It is called carinska deklaracija za puštanje u slobodan promet (customs declaration for release into free circulation).

The customs office will charge you the import duty and PDV (VAT). Learn all about PDV in Croatia here. A list of competent customs offices in Croatia is available here.

During the calculation, they may also apply:

  • Preferential (reduced) or zero duty rates – submit a document proving the preferential origin of the goods (EUR 1 or invoice declaration/supplier’s declaration)
  • Exemption from PDV, if the provisions on the exemption in relation to international transport of Article 47 of the VAT Act can be applied

[Read: How to import your car and belongings to Croatia]

Temporary import of private boats

Boats registered in third countries can be temporarily imported for private use. Temporary import means that they will leave the EU territory after a while – like for tourist purposes. In this case, you may be fully or partially exempt from paying the import duties.

To temporarily import your boat to Croatia, you must submit an oral customs declaration to the competent customs office at the import location. Depending on the purpose of the stay, the boat can stay in Croatia for up to 24 months.

You are exempt from import duties if:

  • Boat is registered outside the EU customs territory on behalf of the person established outside the EU customs territory (if the boat is not registered, the owner must be established outside the EU customs territory)
  • Boat is used by a person established outside the EU customs territory

After the temporary import, boats must remain intact. Boat repairs and maintenance are allowed.

If you belong to the following groups, you may be granted temporary admission:

  • Foreigners with residence in a third country
  • Croatians with residence in a third country – provide a foreign work permit or residence permit to prove residence

[Read: Available visas and residence permits for Croatia]

Suppose you want to temporarily leave the EU territory while your boat is under temporary import. In that case, you must contact the competent customs office according to the location of your boat. You must state that no one will use the boat and the boat’s location (address) while you are away. If someone else uses your boat, you must provide their personal data. Only people registered for that activity can guard the boat.

More information on the temporary import of non-EU private boats to Croatia is available here.

How to register a boat in Croatia

Croatian boats must meet the following requirements before sailing:

  • Their navigability is determined by the provisions of Pomorski zakon (Maritime Code), Zakon o plovidbi i lukama unutarnjih voda (Navigation and Inland Ports Act), and Pravilnik o brodicama, čamcima i jahtama (Rulebook on boats, small boats, and yachts)
  • They have a valid registration certificate or certificate of navigability
  • They are operated by a person with a certificate of competency to operate a boat
  • There is a minimum number of crew members required for safe navigation determined in accordance with special regulations

Existing boats and boats under construction must be entered into Upisnik brodova (Register of Boats). Warships and warships under construction for the needs of the Croatian or foreign Armed Forces are not included in this register. If your boat was built before June 16, 2000, it must be marked with a CE oznaka sukladnosti (CE conformity mark) before entry into the Register of Boats.

How to register a boat in Croatia

Below are all the steps you must pass to register a boat with the Register of Boats. A newly built boat doesn’t have to undergo a technical inspection before registration.

1. Collect the documentation 

To register a newly built boat for the first time, you may need to provide:

  • Application form for boats up to 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Application form for boats bigger than 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Proof of ownership
  • Construction certificate and an invoice from the manufacturer or an authorized representative
  • Sales contract with the manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, or distributor
  • Copy of an ID card if you are a foreigner
  • Power of attorney if you are a foreigner
  • Proof of entry in the court, trade, professional, or other appropriate registers in the country of the establishment if you are a foreign economic entity
  • Statement of the equipment installed on the boat – available here
  • Document proving conditions for entry are in accordance with Articles 187 and 188 of the Maritime Act
  • Documents and certificates determining the technical acceptability of a boat up to 24 meters in length prescribed by the Rulebook on keeping the Register of Boats, the maximum permitted age and technical conditions for entry in the Register of Boats, and a special regulation governing the technical acceptability of boats up to 24 meters in length
  • Document proving the status of the user of the boat if they are entered in the Register of Boats

Power of attorney must contain the name, surname, residence, OIB, and signature of the owner and the proxy. It doesn’t have to be authorized by a notary public.

[Read: How to get something notarized]

To register an existing boat for the first time, you may need to provide:

  • Application form for boats up to 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Application form for boats bigger than 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Proof of ownership
  • Construction certificate and an invoice from the manufacturer or an authorized representative
  • Sales contract with the manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, or distributor
  • Copy of an ID card if you are a foreigner
  • Proof of entry in the court, trade, professional, or other appropriate registers in the country of the establishment if you are a foreign economic entity
  • Document proving conditions for entry are in accordance with Articles 187 and 188 of the Maritime Act
  • Documents and certificates determining the age and technical acceptability of the boat as prescribed by the Rulebook on keeping the Register of Boats, the maximum permitted age and technical conditions for entry in the Register of Boats, and a special regulation governing the technical acceptability of boats
  • Confirmation of the body from the foreign register that the boat has been deleted from the foreign register if the boat is transferred from the foreign register to the Croatian register
  • Document proving the status of the user of the boat if they are entered in the Register of Boats

An example of a boat sales contract is available here. An example of a boat gift contract is available here. Other application forms and examples of documents you may need are available here.

In each subsequent application, it is necessary to include the NIB or the designation of the boat. This is not necessary for the first registration.

2. Submit the request

You can submit the registration request via:

  • e-Građani (e-Citizens) or e-Poslovanje (e-Business) – view a guide here
  • E-mail
  • In person at the competent Harbor Master’s Office – view a list here
  • Mail – view a guide to the Croatian postal office here

The competent Harbor Master’s Office is determined by prebivalište (place of residence) of the owner or user. If you submit the request to the wrong office, they will deliver it to the competent one. If the boat constantly or mostly stays or sails outside the residence, the competent office is considered to be the one which is in charge of that area.

[Read: Prebivalište and boravište: two addresses that must be registered with the police]

3. Get plates and name

When a boat is entered into the Register of Boats, the Harbor Master’s Office determines its designation depending on its category. Nacionalni identifikacijski broj – NIB (National Identification Number) is a unique identification number assigned to a boat.

The designations are the following:

  • Boats for personal use: two letters that present the harbor + NIB
  • Boats for commercial purposes: NIB + two letters that present the harbor
  • Public boats: RH + NIB + two letters that present the harbor

If your boat has a name, it must be legibly written on the boat and must not interfere with the visibility of the designation. The name is determined by the owner of the boat, and it is not mandatory.

Here are all Croatian Harbor Offices and their marks:

  • Bakar – BA
  • Baška – BS
  • Biograd – BG
  • Bol – BO
  • Božava – BZ
  • Cavtat – CT
  • Cres – CS
  • Crikvenica – CK
  • Dubrovnik – DB
  • Hvar – HV
  • Ist – IT
  • Jablanac – JB
  • Jelsa – JL
  • Karlobag – KB
  • Komiža – KZ
  • Korčula – KO
  • Kraljevica – KR
  • Krk – KK
  • Lopar – LO
  • Makarska – MA
  • Mali Lošinj – ML
  • Malinska – MK
  • Maslenica – MC
  • Metković – MT
  • Milna – MN
  • Mošćenička Draga – MD
  • Murter – MU
  • Novalja – NV
  • Novi Vinodolski – NO
  • Novigrad (Zadar) – NG
  • Novigrad (Istria) – ND
  • Omiš – OS
  • Omišalj – OM
  • Opatija – OP
  • Osijek – OK
  • Pag – PG
  • Ploče – PL
  • Poreč – PO
  • Preko – PR
  • Primošten – PS
  • Privlaka – PV
  • Pula – PU
  • Punat – PN
  • Rab – RB
  • Rabac – RC
  • Raša-Trget – RS
  • Rijeka – RK
  • Rogač – RO
  • Rogoznica – RG
  • Rovinj – RV
  • Sali – SA
  • Senj – SE
  • Šibenik – ŠB
  • Silba – SL
  • Sisak – SK
  • Šilo – ŠL
  • Slano – SO
  • Slavonski Brod – SB
  • Sobra – SR
  • Split – ST
  • Stari Grad – SG
  • Starigrad-Paklenica – SD
  • Ston – SN
  • Sućuraj – SĆ
  • Sumartin – SM
  • Supetar – SU
  • Susak – SS
  • Sveti Juraj – SJ
  • Tisno – TI
  • Trogir – TG
  • Trpanj – TP
  • Trstenik – TT
  • Ubli-Lastovo – UB
  • Umag – UM
  • Varaždin – VŽ
  • Vela Luka – VL
  • Vir – VI
  • Vis – VS
  • Vodice – VD
  • Vukovar – VK
  • Zadar – ZD

4. Pay for annual fees

Once your boat is in the Register of Boats, you must pay the annual fees, including:

  • Compensation for the use of maritime property
  • Compensation for the safety of navigation and protection of the sea from pollution

All possible administration fees for registering a boat to the Register of Boats are available here.

Entry of changes

If there are any changes to the data that are entered into the Register of Boats, you must submit the request for registration of data change to the competent Harbor Master’s Office. This must be done within 30 days after the changes occur.

The change of ownership must also be registered within 30 days. It must be done by the new owner. If the new owner does not make the change, the old owner can delete the boat from the register.

If you want to delete a boat from the register, you must fill out this form.

How to track boats in Croatia

The data on boats registered in Croatia can be viewed via an e-Građani online service called Javni pretraživač plovila (Public vessel search engine) or ePlovilo (eVessel). It allows you to view the data on boats entered into the Register of Boats, Register of Yachts, and Register of Inland Waterway Boats. This app is available in English here.

[Read: e-Građani (e-Citizens) – Online portal for Croatian government services]

Port Authority in Croatia

Lučka uprava or lučka kapetanija (Port Authority or Harbor Master’s Office) in Croatia oversees various maritime activities, ensuring safety and compliance within the country’s internal sea waters and territorial sea.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Supervising navigation
  • Conducting search and rescue operations
  • Inspecting navigation safety and maritime property
  • Managing ship registrations and deregistration
  • Managing all of these ship records

These offices issue maritime booklets, verify seafarers’ professional qualifications for obtaining maritime titles, and manage authorizations for ship service. They carry out a range of administrative, professional, and technical tasks related to maritime safety, following specific laws and regulations.

Each Harbor Master’s Office has knowledgeable personnel who ensure maritime activities adhere to Croatian and international maritime standards. View all Harbor Master’s Offices in Croatia here.

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View our other boat articles

Frequently asked questions

Can I register my boat in Croatia?

Any boat can be registered with the Register of Boats. However, the Croatian shipping regulations state that boats built before June 16, 2000, cannot be registered in the Register of Boats unless they meet all other requirements and have the CE compliance label.

How do I get my boat license in Croatia?

In Croatia, port authorities are responsible for issuing VHF and navigational licenses. If your license was granted in a foreign nation, please confirm whether it is legal for Croatian territorial waters. A skipper’s license requires coursework and passing a test with academic and practical components.

Do you need a license to charter a boat in Croatia?

It is against Croatian regulations to operate a boat without a proper license.

What is a Category B boat license in Croatia?

Category B license holders can operate boats, yachts, and fishing vessels up to 30 GT for private use and vessels for passenger and cargo transportation up to 3 NM from the mainland or islands.

How old do you need to be to get a skipper license in Croatia?

You must be 18 or older to get a boating license in Croatia.


Sources:
Uvoz pluvial
Plovila za razonodu by Carinska uprava
Prijevozna sredstva by Carinska uprava
Pravilnik o brodicama, čamcima i jahtama
Uputa za upis brodice
Javni pretraživač plovila
Uputa o provedbi postupka privremenog uvoza plovila u privatne svrhe
Obrasci zahtjeva stranaka

Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.

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