Do Americans Need a Boat License to Rent a Boat in Croatia?

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Sailing through the islands in Croatia is magical and this is a place you can tap into your spirit of adventure. Whether you are a qualified skipper or not, the waters of Croatia are welcoming everyone with a passion to explore. Find out whether or not Americans need a boat license to rent a boat in Croatia.

Which American Boat Licenses are Accepted in Croatia?

The picture shows some boats next to the old town of Dubrvovnik in the emerald waters

If you have pursued your flair for adventure and completed a license in the United States, you are in luck, because Americans need a boat license to rent a boat in Croatia. According to EU laws, at least one person on the vessel must be in possession of a valid nautical license. This could be an International Certificate of Competency (ICC). However, the authorities will also accept one of the following licenses from the US if you have them in the original form; Bareboat Cruising or Basic Cruising (USSA) issued by the US Sailing Association, Bareboat Chartering (ASA) from the American Sailing Association or NauticEd International Sailing Education (SLC). This includes the following licenses:

  • Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA)
  • Advanced Coastal Cruising (ASA)
  • Basic Cruising (USSA)
  • Basic Keelboat (USSA)
  • Bareboat Chartering (ASA)
  • Bareboat Cruising (USSA)
  • Coastal Navigation (USSA)
  • Celestial Navigation (USSA)
  • Coastal Passagemaking (USSA)
  • International proficiency certificate for Yacht Helmsman Navigating in Mediterranean Waters (ASA)
  • Offshore Passagemaking (ASA)
  • Offshore Passagemaking (USSA)
  • International Sailing License and Credentials (SLC)

When bringing the right qualifications, you can then rent a boat in Croatia of this kind:

  • Bareboat Chartered Boats
  • Bareboat Chartered Yachts (up to 30 GT)
  • ​​​​​​​Boats for Private Use
  • Yachts up to 30 GT (Gross Tonnage) used for Private Purposes​​​​​​​

This is true in the Republic of Croatia‘s internal and territorial waters, as well as the waters accessible by sea.

A VHF radio license, which is a license for operating a radio on a boat or yacht, should be held alongside a recognized license. You will also need a crew list showing details about all the members of the crew, including full names and passport information, before renting a boat.

For a bigger expedition stretching into the Adriatic Sea, a larger vessel of up to 100 GT (Gross Tonnage) can be rented by meeting the following license requirements:

Advanced Coastal Cruising (ASA), Coastal Navigation (USSA) Coastal Passagemaking (USSA) issued by either the US Sailing Association (USSA) or American Sailing Association (ASA).

You can find more detailed information about the boat license requirements here.

Rent a Boat Without a License in Croatia

This pictures shows a sailboat in the bay of Pula, a popular sailing destination. Americans need a boat license to rent a boat in Croatia and enjoy these beautiful views

It is important to note that although there might be offers online to rent a boat without a license in Croatia, the regulations in Croatia prohibit anyone from operating any boat without a valid license. However, there are options available that guarantee you an adventure-filled holiday – even without a boat license. Read on to find out what they are.

Rent a Boat Without a Boat License in Croatia, But With a Skipper

For a license-free experience, you can rent a boat in Croatia with a qualified skipper. If you do not have a boat license or simply want to lean back and relax while on vacation, you can take advantage of this option. Your personal skipper takes charge of navigating the Croatian waters and manning the boat while you take in the views of the open waters and the magnificent Croatian landscape.

Take a Boat License Course in Croatia

This picture shows a boat cruising the turquoise waters in Croatia. There are two sun lounges on deck where people can relax and enjoy the views

Not all captains have a beard and a hook, so it is relatively simple to get a boat license and become a skipper in Croatia. Arrive in Croatia without a license, but have one in your pocket before you leave. Several courses in many academies around Croatia are available to obtain a boat license that allows you to sail Croatian waters. Depending on the license type, the courses vary from 3 to 7-day programs and usually include theoretical and practical tests. Become your own captain with these courses and sail through the Croatian islands at your own pace.

Book your Boat Vacation in Croatia with Borrow A Boat

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It is a lot to take in, we know! Skippers, boat licenses, EU laws, and gross tonnage. Reach out to one of many excellent boating experts at Borrow A Boat. We are happy to assist you in finding the best solution for your boat vacation in Croatia. You can reach us via phone +1 727 258 5406 or email at

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