The SeaHelp editorial staff followed up on a recent request from a SeaHelp member. The skipper of a Motor yacht reported a peculiarity of a buoy field In the bay Krivica on Mali Losinj, which regularly leads to uncertainty and dispute.
What is it about? The attractive and well-frequented by sailors anchorage Krivica (44° 29.719′ N 014° 29.392′ E) is located on the southwest coast of the island of Losinj. The approach is easy in daylight and at night, there are no shoals. The bottom of the bay rises evenly to the apex, there are buoys. Many crews moor with the bow to the buoy and deploy a shore line aft, because there is no more space for buoying in the bay due to the proximity of the other buoys.
Are stern lines allowed to be attached to trees in buoy fields?
However, this is exactly where the problem lies: According to an official information from the Croatian Ministry of the Navy to SeaHelp editors on the question of whether it is allowed to attach stern lines for anchoring boats in the beach zone (if it is not a public bathing beach), the Ministry replied that “the sea coast is not subject to property rights, so it is not the property of the Republic of Croatia”, but it is the “sea property”, which is to be seen “as common property” (see Sea-Help article of July 31, 2019, author Wolfgang Kröger).
For this reason, the Croatian Ministry of the Navy continues, boats should moor “only in the designated places or ports.” In particular, it is therefore also not permitted to attach fastening devices (on land) independently or on one’s own initiative.
An insoluble conflict? SeaHelp asked the concessionaire
Now, how to behave correctly as a boat crew in this situation? On the one hand, it is not allowed to deploy shore lines and attach them to the beach area. On the other hand, yacht owners feel compelled to secure their vessels with shore lines to prevent damage to their own and other vessels when they are bobbing. An unsolvable conflict?
We confronted Marina Cikat in Mali Lošinj, which is the concessionaire of the buoy field in question, on August 17, 2021 with the question: Is it allowed to deploy shore lines in the buoy field in the anchorage Krivica when the boat is moored to one of the buoys? The answer of the marina employee was clear: “yes, it is allowed”. Thus, mooring to trees with shore lines is at least tolerated by the concessionaire.
What to do when yachts anchor between buoys and deploy stern lines?
However, another problem is causing displeasure in this buoy field. The SeaHelp member goes on to write, “When all the buoys are occupied, other vessels still come in, lay down between the vessels that are attached to the bottom, anchor between them and also attach themselves to the trees with stern lines.”
The question that arises in this context is the following: since free anchoring is actually prohibited in the area of 150 meters from buoy fields, but the ships in question anchor between the buoys and attach themselves to the trees with lines, they anchor so to speak “not free”.
The decision ultimately lies with the concessionaire
Conversely, would this then be allowed? Again, the decision ultimately rests with the concessionaire. Confronted with the question of the same day, whether it is allowed in the buoy field Krivica, between the buoys to bring out a bow anchor, as well as a stern line ashore, the employee of the Marina Cikat answered that this is also allowed, literally: “Everything is allowed” – as long as nothing is damaged and is paid for it also properly, remains to be noted.
Remains the question, who is liable, if nevertheless once something happens. Generally speaking, you should have good cards in this situation if the anchorage or buoy field is paid for, you have received a receipt for it and the concessionaire has been expressly informed that the stern line has been deployed ashore or anchored in the buoy field and the operator has not registered any objections to it.
In case of doubt, look for another buoy field or anchorage
If the situation cannot be clearly clarified, for example because the anchoring boat owners are informed by the concessionaire that anchoring is not permitted (and are even threatened with informing the police), but on the other hand nothing further is done, thus giving the impression that the situation is at least tacitly tolerated, crews can only be advised to look for another anchoring or buoy berth if in doubt.
Helpful in this regard is the SeaHelp app (Android & Apple): who wants to change his anchorage at short notice yet, can quickly find the surrounding anchorages or marinas in the Sea-Help app info map.
Although the concessionaire of a buoy field is liable for damage resulting, for example, from the fact that the line of a buoy breaks and a boat is damaged, furthermore, operators of buoy fields are also obliged to take out liability insurance against damage resulting from the exercise of this activity. Nevertheless, or precisely because of this, caution is required in the above-mentioned situations in order to avoid any disputes that may arise from the outset. This applies to the Krivica anchorage on the southwest coast of the island of Losinj as well as to many other buoy fields.
By the way, water sports enthusiasts can find the contact details of other buoy field operators / concessionaires in various popular harbor handbooks and digital nautical charts. There, the specific information about each buoy field, including contact information, can be easily retrieved.
Further info: In a contribution from 7/31/2019, SeaHelp author Wolfgang Kröger already generally dealt with the issue of buoy fields in Croatia, which apparently still represents a legal gray area where tempers repeatedly flare. In the article, the Croatian Ministry of the Navy answered SeaHelp’s most important questions on the subject.
Responsible contact person for the Krivica buoy field:
Čikat ul. 4 | 51550 Mali Lošinj | Croatia
Tel. +385 993 97 62 09