Greek ban of pleasure craft

I remember the day – March 1st 2021… browsing the internet, dreaming about the voyages to come in a few weeks I learned that Greece has banned all private boats (“pleasure craft”) from entering the country. This is apparently independent of the crews on board, their state of health, vaccination against Covid-19 etc. So hundreds and thousands can fly or drive into Greece if they follow the regulations (PCR test, submission of form, possibly quarantine) – but pleasure craft are banned. Even boats located in Greece are forbidden to sail for pleasure. And if they sail they must have max. 3 persons on board. How about if governments would create reasonable regulations rather than micro-regulating everything… Imagine you have a family that lives in one house – 5 people. The cannot sail together. One – because pleasure sailing is forbidden (for no good reason at all in this case). Secondly – because they are more than 3. Which is okay at their home but not on their yacht. OMG…

Anybody who understands? Political actionism? Maybe – as the ban is even more strict if boats – regardless of which flag they are sailing under – come from Turkey… Because it’s ships which carry the virus, not the people? “Look – we do something to protect our nation!”? To me, this feels like if you have a bucket with some major holes and one or two micro-cracks. The holes are hard to fix (technically, politically or otherwise). So – well – you fix the micro-cracks and add some band aids where there are no cracks at all – looks like you were doing your best.

So now the thousands of infected crew-members which would otherwise reach Greece daily by pleasure craft are banned, because entering Greece is simply illegal. As is pleasure sailing in Greece. Bravo! Would it have been possible to impose the same limitations on them which are in effect for other travellers? Well – for some. At the time of this writing Greece, requires a negative PCR test not older than 72 hrs. Yep – that would be difficult for many crews. Only works if your voyage is short – like coming from Italy or Turkey – and if you can find a lab to do the test less than 72 hrs before reaching Greek waters. But how about a reasonable approach? Antigen tests upon arrival, ship/port/marina quarantine for 5 days followed by a second antigen test? Having exceptions for vaccinated or recently recovered travellers?

Ah well – tourism is probably not so important for the Greek economy after all, so let’s keep up those effective regulations… I will not look for a marina in Greece at the end of this year as I had planned. The risk of being stuck there in case of a new wave of Covid-19 or another pandemic is too high.

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