Sailing has always been a costly pursuit. However, the flag you register your boat and sail under can also affect your budgeting — as those flying the Polish flag may now be very well aware…

Shortly after entering into the new year, the Polish maritime authorities set about sending a special correspondence. Received by a number of boat owners within its domain, prime targets appeared to be only commercial ships and pleasure craft measuring 15–24 meters. As to the letters received, no good news, we can say — unless you’re into your safety, that is!


As of 2023, these Polish boats will now, by law, be expected to undergo both a survey and safety inspection – and regularly, at that! Naturally, these ongoings are not without cost to boat owners, either. Inspection fees can tally up to around €2500 – €13,550, depending on the type of craft and its usage.


A Plan In The Making?

Though certainly out of the blue, these new regulations are by no means the only shake-up in the Polish maritime industry lately. Most recently, it saw the introduction of a very efficient online registration system. One that allows the registration of 24-meter or less commercial or pleasure craft digitally.


After which, a provisional digital registration is issued within 2 to 5 working days. Around three to four weeks later, the physical Certificate of Registration arrives. Even more handily, in the form of a plastic, credit-card-sized card — a much more convenient option than the paper Certificates of Registry of yesteryear, for sure.


Legal Liabilities & Expectations

As far as legalities, some variables do apply, depending on the type of boat owned and its usage. More leniency is granted to pleasure craft and newer boats than commercial ones or older boats.


For recreational vessels, a safety inspection and survey are only required every 5 years. In the case of boats not older than 10 years (with a CE Declaration of Conformity), only a safety inspection is required — not the survey. Boat owners can expect to pay around €2500 and €7500 for the inspection and survey of a pleasure craft.


For commercial craft under 24 meters used for charter purposes, more periodic inspections are required. A safety inspection, then a flag state inspection every year, and another safety inspection in the fifth year, to be exact. Under the new regulations, commercial boat owners can expect to shell out around €8500 – €13,550 to cover all of these inspection costs.


The new regulations may be costly, but avoiding them is also certainly not a financially viable option. The letter also informed boat owners who try to evade their periodic survey and inspection that they could face hefty fines. Though the chances of being fined may be slim — especially considering delays in inspections — other issues may arise.


In particular, in regards to being paid out by insurers if you crash your boat. If you have avoided your safety inspection and survey, they may have reason to reject your insurance claim. Or even insure you in the first place.


That said, Polish law does provide a more cost-effective alternative to periodical inspections, which Lorrendraaier may be able to arrange for you.


Passing Your Inspection

Under the legislation, boat owners are also expected to meet a number of safety criteria. Though many of these regulations were in place prior, they weren’t enforced. However, as with inspections, rules do differ according to the boat type and its usage.



In order to pass the safety inspection, various criteria must be met, which vary based on the zones the boat sails in:

  • T-Zone: A number of predefined waters in and around Poland.
  • Zone 1: Sheltered Zone: Predefined areas and all waters within 6 nautical miles from the shoreline.
  • Zone 2, Coastal Zone: All waters within 20 nautical miles from the shoreline.
  • Zone 3, High Seas Zone: All waters within 200 nautical miles from the shoreline.
  • Zone 4, Ocean Zone: Unrestricted sailing areas 200 nautical miles or more from the shoreline.


New Safety Rules

The safety criteria vary but include various new expectations that weren’t stipulated prior. For example:

  • All craft sailing in zones beside the T-Zone and Sheltered Zone must have inflatable life rafts on board which meet the SOLAS-A pack, SOLAS-B pack, and ISO 9650-1 pack 1 approved standards.
  • All seafaring craft sailing under the Polish flag must now have communication equipment on board, such as a VHF radio, EPIRB, and SART/AIS SART.
  • All privately-owned craft (even below 15m in length) must supply a valid VHF operating license. Except if sailing in Zone 1 or the T-Zone, in which case, a VHF is only recommended for boats under 15 meters.
  • Regardless of the type of boat you captain, a Ship Station License is also a must. Even for pleasure craft below 15 meters in length that do not (yet) need to be inspected or surveyed.


On passing your safety inspection, you receive your Sea Yacht Safety Card.


Possible Delays

Reportedly, around 4000 boat owners received this correspondence from one of the two maritime authorities. As with any regulatory system, policing is always more complicated than proposing regulations in the first place.


With only two maritime authorities and a handful of inspectors, bottlenecks in the inspection process seem a sure bet. Some owners may need to wait a year or more for their turn. Not least because it takes a day to inspect each boat — and there are potentially thousands of boats to inspect.


More To Come

Luxury or not, sailing and cruising can be a costly affair, with many-a-new expenditure popping up. With these new costly regulations in place, sailing Poland’s flag is set to become somewhat of a status symbol!


The inspection fees may be high, but safety seems to be the top priority for Poland for now. If need be, you can always enquire about more cost-effective flag states in which to register your boat in the meantime, though!