Come to learn sailing in Greece - regulations - qualifications

An ancient maritime nation, Greece is blessed by having some of the best sailing waters in the world.

Warm, clear seas and hundreds of islands make the country a real magnet for people in search of a relaxing adventure. Where many people go between the islands of the Aegean by ferry services, thousands of people charter yachts to explore places off the beaten track.

You can also learn to sail through a number of internationally accredited sailing schemes.

Perhaps you could visit Greece on a first visit to get some sailing qualifications and the next time, skipper a charter yacht yourself?


Where in theory you can sail on Greek waters with no sailing qualifications whatsoever, you need to have some sort of certification in order to charter a yacht.

Yacht charter companies will consider sailing qualifications from most of the rest of the world.

They need to prove to their insurance companies that you know what you’re doing, and won’t break national or international laws while you’re sailing their vessel.

Greek sailing qualifications

Greece has two levels of sailing qualifications that teach you all you need to sail in Greek waters.

Both qualifications are taught in Greek so if you are not fluent, then consider one of the international qualifications below.

★ The Beginners Course

The Beginners Course qualifies you to sail a vessel of up to 20 metres anywhere on the Aegean or Ionian seas.

You will have to do 21 hours of classroom work to understand the theory behind:

  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Engine maintenance and
  • The International Collision Regulations

The above, plus you have to get 55 hours of practical experience in sailing a yacht.

Though a lot of work, this qualification will give you the freedom to enjoy Greek waters. It involves rather less work than the RYA Day Skipper (see below).

★ The Advanced Course

The next level of sailing qualifications in Greece is the Advanced Course. This takes your skills learned in the previous course and hones them to a very high level.

Over the 52 hours of tuition you will do drills so you can for example, anchor safely first time, every time. You will also do 18 hours of classroom skills to develop your theoretical knowledge to the next level.

Royal Yachting Association (RYA)

A large number of sailing schools around Greece teach the RYA syllabus of sailing qualifications.

You can do a Competent Crew course in a week, and it will take another week to do a Day Skipper practical course.

The Day Skipper allows you to sail in coastal waters in daylight hours, and is accepted by most charter companies nationwide.

You do have to do a 40 hour theoretical course for the Day Skipper as well as an exam prior to doing the practical course - perhaps at night school the winter before you come here to do your Day Skipper course?

Have a look at the RYA website for more information about these courses.

American Sailing Association (ASA)

Many Greek sailing schools teach ASA qualifications

If you’re from the US and want to take a qualification that is recognised at home with you, then perhaps look at doing the ASA Bareboat Skipper 104 course?

Over a week at some sailing schools in Greece you can work your way from being a complete beginner to having a US license by doing a combined course of the ASA 101, 103 and 104 courses.


The International Yacht Training (IYT) scheme teaches internationally recognised sailing qualifications.

There are 7 sailing schools throughout Greece that can get you qualified to charter a yacht on Greek waters. The IYT scheme is recognised and accredited in over 50 countries around the world, so with a qualification from them the world is your oyster!

Once qualified through any of these schemes from Greece, the RYA, ASA and IYT, you can sail almost anywhere you choose.

Charter companies as far afield as the South Pacific and Caribbean as well as Europe, the Mediterranean and South Africa will allow you to use their vessels.

Jump on in – the water’s lovely!