10,000 new craft take to the water every year

Small craft of up to 10 meters have been the fastest-selling category over the past three years. According to the Hellenic Marine Industry Association, every year another 10,000 of these small craft are launched. According to the association’s general secretary, Costas Biskinis, the number of new speedboats licensed every year is growing by 15-17 percent annually, a trend expected to continue. «We are at the beginning of a boom which is expected to peak some time in the future,» he said. «Greeks have always loved the sea, but now it is easier and cheaper for them to buy a boat.» «The main factor is a change in the law two years ago abolishing the requirement that prospective boat owners should have a minimum income (if they wanted to avoid paying tax). Quite a number of people were not able to buy a boat because they could not account for the purchase on the basis of their annual income,» explained Biskinis. It is also easier to get a skipper’s license; meanwhile for boats with engines of less than 30 hp, no license is required. Bureaucracy has also been reduced. Skippers are no longer required to obtain a permit from every port authority for every arrival and departure, even for a short trip to a nearby beach. «In central ports such as Glyfada, on Saturday mornings there used to be queues outside the port authority, forcing people to wait hours before they could set off,» he said.