sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:34 pm

I have been engaged by UNDP in Croatia to be a senior consultant on an adventure tourism development effort. The first area we are looking at is sea kayaking. Thus far I have produced draft versions of a skills certification system, (in line with international and particularly BCU standards). I have also produced draft versions of three separate regulations, classification of kayaks as sea faring vehicles, non-commercial regulations and regulations for operators. This has been an arduous experience thus far. To step back a moment, I should say that I am a former industry professional from the US, (I was a Rep for a now dis-reputed company - it wasn't when I was with them). I am also, or was, an ACA certified instructor for both whitewater and sea kayak. Now, back to the situation.... I have been experiencing problems throughout this process. The "project manager" simply does not understand the sector at all, and thinks that preparing all of this is worth about 10 days of work.... but that is another issue... The three regulations are where issue lay, or in particular, in the regs for non-commercial kayakers. The issue in particular is this; I have created a system in which three aspects are used to determine a "allowable range of travel". These aspect include, skills (50%), weather (30%), and equipment (20%). The system is not particularly complex, going like this;

Skills
• Novice kayakers receive 10 points
• Beginner kayakers receive 20 points
• Intermediate kayakers receive 30 points
• Advanced kayakers receive 40 points
• Expert kayakers receive 50 points
Conditions (assessed by existing conditions and forecasts for the stated period the kayaker intends to travel)
• Calm waters receive 30 points
• Medium waters receive 20 points
• High waters receive 10 points
Equipment
• Basic receives 5 points
• Touring receives 10 points
• Expedition receives 20 points
An additional 15 bonus points are awarded to advanced and expert kayakers using at least touring grade quality equipment.

There are then three zones of allowable travel, green, blue and red. I shall not go into the details of this and other aspects at this point... the assessment works as such;

Determining which range is allowable for a given kayaker is done by calculation of points accrued from the three assessment aspects there by providing a total that fits into the following system of allowance;
Less than 60 points, restricted to maximum Green Zone
Less than 75 points, restricted to maximum Blue Zone
More than 75 points, full allowance to Red Zone

Now, the issue I am having is this; The project manager feels that weather should not be a factor, and also believes that all persons who wish to do any sea kayaking in Croatia should have a certification of their skills. I feel that this is the same as a ski resort requiring all skiers to have a certification in order to ski - there would be no skiers! While I do believe that some sort of structure is needed, and have tried to create a system that both ensures safety on Croatian waters while not prohibiting individual enthusiasts, (many of whom are skilled but have no paper that would prove it), from being able to enjoy what I believe is a top 3 destination! I would love to hear from anyone here about this.

Fire away!

Richard Moss
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:41 am
Location: Manchester, NW England

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Richard Moss » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:34 pm

About 30 seconds work for me. I would write something similar to the British Mountaineering Council's participation statement which is:

"The BMC recognises that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions."

Unless I've missed something, what you're proposing seems way over the top and wholly unnecessary - I don't need a regulatory framework to go paddling on the sea or on rivers elsewhere (nor do I for climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking etc.).

On the basis of what you've written it sounds meddlesome and bureacratic and would encourage me to take my "adventure tourism" contribution elsewhere.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13855
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 36 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:01 pm

I'm sorry, I don't understand what this is for?

Is this for all kayakers or just a system for kayakers using local outfitters or guides to give those businesses some criteria for whether or not to hire equipment to them?

Surely you cannot be expecting all kayakers to file route plans and have them assessed by someone who knows nothing about kayaking to see if they will be allowed to paddle?
Who is going to assess and certify the equipment and skills of private individuals on holiday, and who is going to pay for it?

These are personal decisions. Each and every paddler should learn how to make their own decisions about when to or not to paddle. Seriously this system runs the risk not only of restricting some very capable paddlers because the system doesn't recognise/understand them, but also of giving the go ahead to relatively inexperienced kayakers who manage to accrue enough points for their trip but are not really up to it. Such people are over time going to fall into a way of thinking that they will be OK because the government has given them the go ahead for a trip, rather than learning to make the decision to pull out for themselves. I think it's sheer lunacy.

The fact that the project manager does not recognise the importance of weather should be enough to raise alarm bells. However well you mean in putting this together, it just cannot achieve it's goals.
Now as a set of voluntary guidelines for helping people to decide whether or not to make their trip, maybe there is a framework there with something going for it. If some kind of legal framework is needed for outfitters to determine who to hire equipment to, or guides to determine a suitable area for a given group, then the scheme may have some merit there too.

Does Croatia require a license to ride a bicycle on the public highway? (does anywhere?) Which is more dangerous, sea kayaking or cycling? I'll bet people think more before getting in a kayak than before getting on a bike.
Some things just shouldn't be regulated.

Jim

User avatar
Strad
Posts: 1885
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:27 am
Location: The Beautiful Borders of Scotland
Been thanked: 1 time
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Strad » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:12 pm

I have to support what Richard said, way too complex.
Successful adventure tourism succeeds on allowing the tourist to know their own limits, to provide high quality information (guides) on what is available for each sport and maybe a quick nod on where is good to buy apres ski / bike / kayak / parachute (etc) tea and cake...

Your time would have been far better spent on getting some guides on places to go and how conditions impact them then some over complex system of points - it reminds me of the point system to emigrate to Aus or NZ, over the top for a holiday....
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
Graham Stradling

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:35 pm

Thanks for the quick replies!!

The re two other regs which I feel good about, regarding classification of sea kayaks, (they are currently rated the same as peddle boat and the like and are "restricted to no further than 300m from the coast"), and for tour operators. The one I have listed, for "non-commercial" kayakers was born out of my own opposition to what the project manager wants, which is to require that all persons wishing to sea kayak in Croatia must have a certification proving their skills. While many do, more do not, and this does not mean they are not skilled, which if he has his way would mean they cannot paddle without going through a Croatian certified skills test first, assuming they have no other international cert. I had hoped to create something that, from the perspective of the paddler, would be seemless, arrive, register at the port authority, go paddle. Truth be told, the way I designed it, 90% of paddlers would be unaffected in terms of where and when they paddle. This has been a tall task to say the least and creating a system where the guest is not negatively affected but the state feels that they have done due diligence to ensure the waters are safe is no easy feat, especially here in the Balkans!

Thanks for your comments and I hope to get many more. Perhaps I will post more of the regulatory structure to get additional comments.

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:38 pm

I forgot to mention that guide certs and product development is also moving along, without these type of complications.

Jon P
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:47 pm
Location: Manchester

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Jon P » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:19 pm

I've just returned from a three week paddling holiday in Croatia and it is definately a top destination. However if the system you are looking at were in place I would have gone somewhere else. I would have thought that if the objective was to promote adventure tourism building a bureaucracy around accessing the water is not the way to go.

I agree with the sentiments expresssed by the other posters, who would want to get involved in such a potential bureaucratic nightmare. We were staying on the Peljesac Peninsula so I guess our nearest port office would have been Dubrovnik which would have been a days round trip to get to. I don't have any BCU stars or any other forms of evidence as to my paddling ability (or lack of it) and none of the people I paddle with do either so I guess that we would all have to be assessed by someone. That person is going to have to be paid so I guess there would be a charge to the paddler. So I would have lost a day of my holiday and it would have cost me, if it were possible to get assessed on the day we wanted. You can just imagine the senario the person doing the assessment isn't available today/has too many to do today/ come back tomorrow.

The essence of sea kayaking is self reliance and personnal responsibility and any scheme like this is going to be a massive turn off to most people who would consider visiting Croatia to paddle.

Jon

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:55 pm

Thanks Jon for your reply. I am glad you had a great time! Your concerns are right on the money. I have been expressing this to the project manager, but he just keeps saying that if you charter a boat you have to have a certificate, it should be the same for kayaks. I disagree, but am riding a slippery slope trying to accommodate those who are paying me for the work and keeping things realistic and not counter productive. I hope to hear more comments from people with insight and experience. In fact, a paddler such as yourself is the exact argument I made to the PM about not requiring all to have a cert. At this point I am focusing on my efforts to develop the system within the kayaking association to manage the skills certification and guide/instructor development program. I feel confident that when we go to present the draft regs, the aspect covering non-commercial will die on the vine. we will see.

Again, thanks for your comments.

mmarin
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:52 pm
Location: Adriatic Sea
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by mmarin » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:33 pm

I live in Slovenia, but the Croatian coast is the place i feel at home. Last year i did about 440nm solo paddling and this year i paddled all the coast (Savudrija - Prevlaka) during my adventure from SLO to Zakynthos.
I have no certification and don't intend to get one.
I beg you, don't complicate things so much. Points, green, red, blue, this is way too much. The Adriatic sea is very good toward paddlers. With so many islands you are always max 5nm from a village and just a few miles from the nearest sheltered bay. The conditions for paddling are perfect, suitable for beginners. No tide, no surf, no currents, so why would you need the certificate to enjoy this beautiful coast?
Kayak gift Kayaking & Canoeing Keyrings

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8056
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by MikeB » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:31 pm

I recently enquired of a well established and respected centre here in UK about the possibility of hiring a sea kayak. Unless I could produce evidence of competence in the form of BCU star awards they wouldn't entertain it.

Sure, that knocks out the people with a massive amount of experience and no paperwork - but one wonders if that's going to be a major issue in this context anyway?

Irrespective of how benign the coast may appear, something will always go wrong - and there's no effective way to legislate for the people who think they can just hop in a sea kayak and go off and enjoy themselves with no skills, experience or quals.

All that said, the system being proposed sounds very complex - and difficult to admin. Unless its foolproof, and easy, the operators will just fudge it anyway, so what's the point? Why not just have a two tier process where people who can produce the certification to prove competence get to do whatever is deemed within their qualification remit, and those without are contrained to something controlled like guided / supervised use? That at least gets people onto the water and that's got to be a good thing.

But, if the project manager can't understand the relevance of the weather, I'd be worrried. Very worried.

Mike.

Chris Bolton
Posts: 2880
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: NW England
Has thanked: 23 times
Been thanked: 80 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Chris Bolton » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:01 pm

I can see the challenge you have, in trying to produce something which will be accepted by the authority you're writing it for, and not restrict paddlers unduly. I agree with the other posters that any restriction on non-commercial paddlers (eg unguided) will just mean that they don't go there - and that's the point to make to the project manager.

I've been sea kayaking for well over 20 years, in areas with strong tides and cold water; if I have any serious issues in warm water with no tides then I deserve to. I do happen to have a 20 year old basic proficiency certificate, but I'm unlikely to try for anything more as it would would cost me a lot of time and money and aggravation - the BCU coaching scheme isn't generally as well regarded in the UK as in the US, surprisingly. If I have to go out of my way to prove my ability, or am restricted in where I can go, I'll probably decide to paddle somewhere else. How would a scheme be policed? Will there be patrols waiting to catch paddlers who stray outside the zones? What will happen to them if they do?

If you must have a scheme, weather is difficult. I'm tending to agree with the project manager, although probably for a different reason. It's not that weather isn't relevant to the safety of kayaks, but that it's impractical as a criterion. Maybe I'm taking a UK based view here, but weather is not very predictable. If you paddle somewhere in the expectation of good weather, and it gets worse, what do you do if you then find you're somewhere you don't have enough points for?

I can see that your bonus 15pts is indented to make weather an irrelevancy for advanced and expert paddlers. A point system which become irrelevant anyone who is sufficient committed to bring some of their own gear (not necessarily boat or paddle) might be OK - it would control inexperienced tourists with hired gear while still allowing serious paddlers to do what they like - with their gear being their proof of experience. But most will still need to hire the things they can't take on a plane.

Good luck - please continue to use this forum to test your thoughts but don't be surprised at the resistance to regulation - it's why most of us go sea paddling in the first place.

Chris

User avatar
keith
Posts: 100
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:13 pm
Location: North Wales
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by keith » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:15 pm

Simple - don't go paddling in Croatia!

Fast Pat
Posts: 466
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:16 am

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Fast Pat » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:33 pm

I have been involved with two week long DoE expeditions to Croatia in the last two years, I also run a Outdoor Education Centre here in the UK. I would make the following points / suggestions:

If the PM is not prepared to accept your recomendations why then are you accepting the role - is it not your position as an external expert consultant not to tell them what they want to hear but what the facts are?

Whilst recognising that you are already aware of the possible issues regarding certification and grading, should yu not be asking the PM where else is such an approach used for sea kayaking - his anology with chartering yachts is not relevent.

In Croatia the weather is not such an issue, other than the Bora most weather is stable and predictable (indeed it could be argued that the Bora is itself predictable), tides are negligible. For most of the coast as a previous poster has pointed out you are never more than 4km from a bay / village.

What accidents / fatalities has there been among the commercial sea kayaking outfits to date?

mick m
Posts: 445
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 1:23 am
Location: East Gippsland Vic Australia
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by mick m » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:51 pm

Its not a case of big brother is it? Hear in Australia one state desided with no consaltation that permits wold be requiard to paddle of shore , a handful of us aplied, the minister was not avalabel to administer our permits or in my case Im still wating for acnoligment that Iv even aplied for it,

Permits and rules are only as good as the infistructur to suport them , hear in Australia most sea kayakers arnt involved with the Cano Bord our so caled guverning body , most clubs are for inshurence perposes , we in Victoria are not , its way to expencive . and the bord spend ther mony at an olimpic level not a grass roots level.

as with others hear I wold look elswher if ther wher to meny hoops involved .

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13855
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 36 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:31 pm

For some reason the MCA updates haven't been circulating round the office for some time now, but I do seem to recall a notice a couple of years discussing a review into the possible regulation of small boats in UK waters. The conclusion was that it would be an utterly futile exercise, impossible to administer or police and unlikely to reduce the number of small craft incidents around our coast.

Now if an island state surrounded by cold water and violently changeable maritime climate, with some of the strongest and most complex tidal systems in the world has rejected regulation of small boats (which would include but not be limited to kayaks) because it would be ineffective, then one has to wonder why a state with a relatively stable climate, warm water and little tide is bothering to go through such a process?

It is interesting that is reckoned that there are far fewer DIY related accidents in NZ than the UK (by %) because DIY is completely unrestricted unrestricted by the government so anyone and everyone can find out how to do a job properly and safely, whilst in the UK we have been quietly strangling the DIYer by insisting that all gas work be done by an approved installer, all electrical work by an approved installer (not quite there yet in Scotland, we can still wire our own houses but not get certificates for them) and so on - such that the approved installers are able to keep trade secrets so even where a competent DIYer is prepared do the work himself he can't get access to information or parts.

Excessive regulation does not make anything safer, it creates a nightmare for the people who have to administer it, and for those who have to use it. Bottom line I think is that to apply regulations to non-commercial paddlers will decrease the country's tourist revenue from kayaking. Draw the parallel with yacht hire - let/make the hire companies check qualifications (after all it is their equipment at risk) but don't introduce anything for people who turn up with their own boats, I'm sure you don't do that for yachts, although under port state control a yacht probably can be detained if it is found to be unsafe.

User avatar
Wenley
Posts: 283
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:21 pm
Location: Spain
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Wenley » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:58 am

USexpat said:
I have been engaged by UNDP in Croatia...
Then it hit me: UNDP=United Nations Development Programme=The Matrix. As dead sea paddlers do not seem to be thrown ashore by the droves in the Adriatic, my wild guess is that all this comes down to hordes of unelected busybodies jumping at the chance to improve the nation (errr, to impose his will on the nation), starting by "supporting the development of adventure and activity based tourism in Dalmatia through standardisation" (as extracted from the UNDP's website).

Really, if a point system is even considered for recreational paddlers, the regulations for outfitters might be simply fantastically convoluted. And from there, the limit will be the sky. For instance, I am quite sure that in Spain, any paddling tour arranged by an commercial operator or by a kayak club is expected by regulations to have one -at times, several- RIBs chugging along the group which is a sorry image. It is not widely enforced but any injury resulting from the tour will make the organizers liable to tort claims and criminal charges.

Jim,

Very well said.
http://www.onkayaks.squarespace.com/
The weather is like the government, always in the wrong.

mmarin
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:52 pm
Location: Adriatic Sea
Contact:

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by mmarin » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:14 am

I was a little bit impulsive yesterday because I really would like to see something like this in Croatia.
The weather on the eastern shore of the Adriatic sea is very, very predictable. Croatia is a partner of ALADIN Numerical Weather Prediction Project and the detailed weather forecast(#1 and #2) is just always right. It happened sometimes that the wind came one hour later, but in my case, this happened just on one occasion. Bora is perfectly predictable, so is the Maestral(wind that blows form she shore) in the summer and Jugo (S). Even the most scary, Tramontana (NW) is unpredictably predictable. Then don't really know the hour when it will hit, but there is always a warning that it might. Of course nothing is perfect and also they make mistakes, especially for precipitations, but it's really an accurate weather forecast.
There are few dodgy places like Punta Planka (Rt Ploča, SE of Rogoznica), but even this are perfectly manageable and are not life threatening.

Bureaucracy is killing us in everyday life, please don't make sea kayaking part of it.
Kayak gift Kayaking & Canoeing Keyrings

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:23 am

Fast Pat wrote:I have been involved with two week long DoE expeditions to Croatia in the last two years, I also run a Outdoor Education Centre here in the UK. I would make the following points / suggestions:

If the PM is not prepared to accept your recomendations why then are you accepting the role - is it not your position as an external expert consultant not to tell them what they want to hear but what the facts are?

Whilst recognising that you are already aware of the possible issues regarding certification and grading, should yu not be asking the PM where else is such an approach used for sea kayaking - his anology with chartering yachts is not relevent.

In Croatia the weather is not such an issue, other than the Bora most weather is stable and predictable (indeed it could be argued that the Bora is itself predictable), tides are negligible. For most of the coast as a previous poster has pointed out you are never more than 4km from a bay / village.

What accidents / fatalities has there been among the commercial sea kayaking outfits to date?

First let me thank everyone for their replies. I needed to hear some arguments that I can use with my PM as I have run out of my own....

As for fast pat, some very interesting comments...

I was recruited for this role after they figured out that I was the only consultant in the region who actually understands what adventure tourism is, (particularly as and active paddler, climber, etc.). You are quite correct about my being the expert, they are SUPPOSED to listen to me. That's not how this place, or development as a whole works unfortunately. They have an anticipated result for which they think they know before hand how it will look, and then they get a consultant to confirm that.... except that no-one here understands adventure and as a result, this is what I get. I have been pushing for an effort like this for 6 years, (I have been here for 9), and just now it's getting going. I am hoping that the experience with sea kayaking will educate the PM some so that when we get to other sectors, ie hike, bike, climb, etc. they will more readily accept my suppositions without trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. we'll see.

I agree the charter analogy is not relevant. I am not going to argue that though as he is stuck on it. I will use my ski analogy, that the requirement is tantamount to ski resorts requiring skiers to have a cert in order to ski. The only places I know of that have a similar restriction are protected nature areas where the "cert" has nothing to do with paddling, but you must go through an environmental training that last 30 min. to be aware of where you are paddling.

The weather here is in fact highly predictable and it's inclusion should not be an issue, but they don't want it, so it won't be.

Perhaps you most relevant comment, there have been 0 incidents involving a sea kayak in Croatia, ever. This while the sector has been unregulated. To me, this is the best argument to let individuals continue as is. I do feel operators need to be reigned in, but I also see what happens here on that end, and if we don't deal with it now, an incident is inevitable.

User avatar
Robert Craig
Posts: 762
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:55 pm
Location: Glasgow
Has thanked: 27 times
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Robert Craig » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:13 am

I'm in danger of shooting the messanger - and I know which side you as a messanger are coming from. So apologies for the rant below.

The idea of regulating, or attempting to regulate, the person who turns up with their own boat is ludicrous. If such a scheme were in place, and enforced, I'd go somewhere else. I do have the "bits of paper", but I wouldn't be prepared to take them, show them, or acknowledge their existence.

I like the ski arguement - you could develop it by counting the ski-ing accidents, counting the sea kayaking accidents, and comparing them.

Richard Moss
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:41 am
Location: Manchester, NW England

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Richard Moss » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:22 am

If they are expecting to regulate other sectors such as climbing I would suggest asking advice from the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) - they have a more co-ordinated staff and experience of proposals for unncecessary regulation of outdoor sectors (and perhaps their insurance department, they would have an idea of numbers of incidents related to risks in Croatia). I imagine at the moment that there are more climbers visiting Croatia than paddlers (a couple of my friends enjoyed their climbing in Croatia at the start of the summer), and similarly climbers don't have to prove their competence.

So what happens if I want to do a multi-activity holiday in Croatia, paddling, climbing and biking - If I and my family have to waste time and money 'demonstrating competence' in all 3 disciplines - we would go elsewhere.

Without knowing much about your wider background, it does sound like you need to involve people with wider knowledge. Being an active paddler/instructor and climber doesn't automatically qualify one as able to cover all areas.

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:57 am

Richard Moss wrote:If they are expecting to regulate other sectors such as climbing I would suggest asking advice from the BMC (British Mountaineering Council) - they have a more co-ordinated staff and experience of proposals for unncecessary regulation of outdoor sectors (and perhaps their insurance department, they would have an idea of numbers of incidents related to risks in Croatia). I imagine at the moment that there are more climbers visiting Croatia than paddlers (a couple of my friends enjoyed their climbing in Croatia at the start of the summer), and similarly climbers don't have to prove their competence.

So what happens if I want to do a multi-activity holiday in Croatia, paddling, climbing and biking - If I and my family have to waste time and money 'demonstrating competence' in all 3 disciplines - we would go elsewhere.

Without knowing much about your wider background, it does sound like you need to involve people with wider knowledge. Being an active paddler/instructor and climber doesn't automatically qualify one as able to cover all areas.
Fortunately I am experienced in all of those areas so no worries. I hear you on the wasting time and that is a continuing theme I am hearing from all areas. In the end what I am doing here is a bit of commentary from the community to gauge reaction. I believe at this point we will forgo any regulation of individual paddlers. There will be a regulation on range of allowable use for kayaks that will enable arrivals who rent equipment to travel as they wish based on the quality of equipment they have. As better paddlers will always better equipment this should help keep those who are not skilled from traveling an areas their skill does not allow for.

User avatar
lg18
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:25 pm
Location: Aberdeenshire
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by lg18 » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:33 pm

USexpat wrote:As better paddlers will always better equipment this should help keep those who are not skilled from traveling an areas their skill does not allow for
This theory is less likely to apply to Croatia where, I assume, the majority of "independent" sea kayakers will have flown in and have to hire equipment once there.

Lucy

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:12 pm

Lucy,

In some way yes, but as arrivals can rent sit on tops or higher end boats, those who are experienced are more willing to pay for better equipment. Those driving down with their own equipment would be presumed to have a modicum of skills and associated judgment.

User avatar
maryinoxford
Posts: 1225
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:02 pm
Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by maryinoxford » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:07 pm

USexpat wrote:Those driving down with their own equipment would be presumed to have a modicum of skills and associated judgment.
Take into account folders and inflatables, which are the easiest boats to travel with. There's not always a clear-cut line between; many folding kayaks have air tubes which tighten the skin. Some inflatables have frame elements to add stiffness. The best folders are as seaworthy as a rigid boat. The worst inflatables shouldn't be let out of a swimming pool.

But you can probably divide them by type into sit-in and sit-on-top.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

merimies
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:29 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by merimies » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:10 pm

Unfortunately USexpat is not right about mortal accidents in croatia. In 2004 drowned a well trained and experienced kayaker between the isles of Cres and Plavnik during a bora. It was discussed in the german Seekajakforum http://www.seekajakforum.de/forum/read. ... #msg-12201.

Reading some of the replies one could think the adriatic sea is a kind of millpond. It is, but only with calm weather, and on a multiple day trip you would need in any case a vhf to receive the weatherforecast of your specific area and enough food and water to sit out situations. The coastline is very rugged, and what is a lovely bay in good weather wil be a trap in detoriating conditions.

Regarding that, you can have the most fantastic paddling in croatia. I had never problems, neighther meeting the kapetaneria on an open crossing of 5nm nor with rough camping (far off any official campsites).

I hope it will stay that little regulated for still a long time

And yes, german and dutch people bring their own equipment, partly even seakayaks.

Klaus

Eliza Dolittle
Posts: 757
Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 1:29 pm
Location: I'm Surrey I haven't a clue.

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Eliza Dolittle » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:06 pm

USexpat wrote: Those driving down with their own equipment would be presumed to have a modicum of skills and associated judgment.
This assumption may have been true once but I don't think it is anymore. With the ease and relative cheapness of sit on tops compared to expedition sea kayaks it is quite easy to get afloat without a clue about the potential hazards. A quick trawl of the internet brings up inflatable Sit on Top packages from only £150, compare this to the cost of an hours boat hire, typically £10 and so it is easy to see why people buy rather than hire.
Only last week I stopped to chat to a guy paddling on the canal in his new SOT. He was wearing jeans and a cotton T shirt, didn't have buoyancy aid and his asymmetric paddles were upside down. Despite needing a licence to paddle the canal he didn't have one of those either, and this was an Englishman in England, none of the problems of coping with regulations in a foreign language.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8056
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 13 times

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by MikeB » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:17 pm

It's impossible to legislate against naivety - education is the way, not legislation.

Reading this thread as it develops, it does seem that the intention of the OP's "brief" is to provide "legislation" to govern "all" paddling in the area. IF that's the case, I'd suggest it's a no-go. Providing controls on the hire of craft, either to individuals or as part of a commercial, led-trip operation could be a totally different concept.

Mike.

Jon P
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:47 pm
Location: Manchester

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by Jon P » Thu Sep 02, 2010 8:37 pm

lg18 wrote:
USexpat wrote:As better paddlers will always better equipment this should help keep those who are not skilled from traveling an areas their skill does not allow for
This theory is less likely to apply to Croatia where, I assume, the majority of "independent" sea kayakers will have flown in and have to hire equipment once there.

Lucy
I don't know about the majority of "independent" sea kayakers but we drove there this summer. I'm not sure that I would take the risk of driving for three days from Manchester if there was a risk that I might not be able to do the paddling that I wanted to do because of local regulations.

Jon

shep8361
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:08 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by shep8361 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:10 pm

My wife and I spent our honeymoon on an organised sea kayaking tour in Croatia this summer. Nobody demanded to see any certification, which was just as well since we didn't have any, although we both have reasonable sea kayaking experience. As far as I know, nobody else in the party had any formal sea kayaking qualifications either.

Despite this, nobody died. Our guides were competent and we had a fantastic time. Croatia offers those with limited or no previous sea kayaing experience the opportunity to improve their skills in an environment that offers interest and excitement aplenty but is more forgiving than UK waters.

Regulation for regulation's sake, as proposed above, will kill the adventure tourism industry in Croatia, putting some excellent guides out of work and driving novice kayakers (and experienced ones, for that matter) to kill themselves in less bureaucratic countries, if there are any left.

USexpat
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:31 pm

Re: sea kayak regulations in Croatia

Post by USexpat » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:34 am

Thanks to everyone for their responses.

At this point what we have will go to public debate. I have already spoken with operators and I expect that the regulation of non-commercial paddlers will not get done. There will be new regulations for operators, which will have no effect on incoming paddlers other than to ensure more consistent service provision and a safer environment. There will also be a required registration of kayaks. This will fall under the larger law on sea traffic. As it is right now, all kayaks traveling farther than 300m from the coast are in violation. While this has not been an issue for most, there have been a couple of incidents where people were fined. The new law will remove that possibility, but require a very small fee for usage of kayaks on Croatian waters, (4 euro/day). This is also being done because there are numerous operators from European countries that are coming here with their guests, bringing all supplies with them, launching and camping from "wild" locations,leaving no benefit for the destination. Domestic operators already pay a fee for their kayaks so those coming to rent or on tours will see no change. The fee will be relevant only for those who travel beyond 300m from the coast, so those coming to stay at a camp and bringing their kayak to play close to the shore will also have no change.

Post Reply