what to do in unexpected incidents during your sailing holidays

While on a Greek yacht charter with Kavas Yachting you will be out to have a great time and no doubt have a few drinks and a party or two afloat. You’re not monks and shouldn’t be expected to be entirely dry while aboard.

You’re here to have a good time and to enjoy the sun, sea and great booze that Greece has to offer. Not everyone is a good drinker, and there are times when things get out of control. In these circumstances, do you know what to do should things go wrong?

Drunks in port

While in control of a Kavas yacht we take it for granted that you will look after your vessel as if it was your own. You may even get a bit silly at times, but everyone has fun times!

Damaging the boat could take the fun out of the sailing, and delay your plans to enjoy the mainland and islands of this fantastic part of the world.

People using other boats may not be so careful to remember that, as someone we shall just call Spiros told us.

Spiros was sailing with his family around the Dodecanese Islands in the summer of 2015. They were having a great time until one evening when they were moored at Tilos Island.

He recounts his story:

In the boat next to ours, there were 3 guys, 2 teenagers and an older, probably the father. They look unpolished, rough. They didn't pay the mooring fee pretending they don't understand.
The municipality's employee no more insisted and left.
It was 01.00 am and we noticed something knocked us while we were asleep down below. I climbed the deck from the hatch and saw them trying to unblock the mooring lines and leave. Ten minutes later they were lost in the dark.
Someone told us they were drinking in the bar before that.
In the morning I noticed some scratches in our boat and the red left light broken.
I should have called the port police immediately.
This really ruined our holiday.”


Should Spiros have taken a different approach he would not have had to worry about the drunks’ misbehaviour so much. If it happens to you, you should take the following steps.

Get a good description of the vessel

Get as much detail about the craft and crew as you can. The registration number of the vessel will be on the stern and on the bow. Use your camera phone and preferably have someone video the incident as it happens.

Cameras never lie. Getting a good description of the vessel and crew will enable you to take the next step.

Call the local police

You should immediately call the local police and get them to stop the boat from leaving the port. Such incidents are crimes and no matter how drunk the offender is they should not be allowed to get away with it.

You can either call them on the international emergency number 112 using your cellphone or by VHF. If you call “Pan Pan” on VHF the police are legally obligated to call the Public Prosecutor to assess who was at fault.

While this can take a little time it also takes the stress from you and puts it in the hands of the experts.

Let us know

Kavas Yachting will have supplied a 24 hour a day phone number to you for events such as this.

When you have called the police, call Kavas to discuss what happened and what they want from you.

Also, please read carefully through the notes below:

Notes for the skipper

Some things to remember

Don’t be afraid to cause a stink. If you go quietly and not create a fuss then you might be held at fault. Why take the rap for someone who can’t hold their drink? If they are sober and can’t get off the dock without €€€ of damage then should they go to sea at all?

Do your own research – people will be awake much of the time in port and there will be witnesses. Video interview them if possible. Sailors like helping each other out, and the likelihood is that the same idiots wouldn’t have made many friends in the marina or anchorage the night before.

The police may send a surveyor to assess whether your yacht is seaworthy. If they say they will do this, you cannot leave port until your vessel is certified as seaworthy. This is usually a formality. It protects you too – you wouldn’t want to sail something unfit for sea…

At sea?

You will be in Greek waters for most of your time with Kavas Yachting. You will deal with incidents of this kind whether at sea or in port in a similar way to what we describe above with the Greek authorities.

While in open water, if someone clearly hasn’t seen you you should not stick rigidly to the Col Regs and allow the collision to happen. It is better to get out of the way as soon as you are sure they haven’t seen you. Even if you are sure that he was asleep below and the dog was at the helm when he hit you, and have photographic evidence of the fact it is far better to get out of the way and let him hit someone else.

That saves paperwork, interviews with the police and insurers, as well as having to explain to a judge and us here at Kavas Yachting that ‘I knew it was his fault and could prove it so let him smash me amidships!’

Have you any stories?

Half the fun of going afloat is the stories we bring ashore after our adventures. Have you run into something similar to Spiros? We’d love to hear from you, and will reprint your tale here to show people the best way forward should something happen.

Send us your comments to kavas [at] yachcharter.gr

Richard Shrubb