Regulations and best practices when sailing to Estonia

Source: Tiit Mõtus, visit Estonia

Regulations and best practices when sailing to Estonia

Cruising to a new country for the very first time can be challenging. In Estonia, the officials are generally English-speaking, the currency is the euro, and regulations are fairly loose, so no worries.

Estonia is a proud member of the European Union and part of the Schengen Area, therefore there is no problem when arriving from other EU countries. Just contact the harbour master via mobile or VHF prior arrival and enjoy your trip. To help you – State Port Register will provide an overview and contacts of all the ports registered in Estonia.

Kõpu lighthouse in Hiiumaa island

Photo by: Marek Jõepera

When arriving from Third Countries (non-EU countries, like the Russian Federation) the first stop should be preferably in ports listed as border checkpoints to contact officials and pass customs procedures shortly after mooring. For example, suitable destinations are Dirhami (north-west Estonia), Sillamäe (north-east), Praaga (Lake Peipsi), Roomassaare (Saaremaa Island, open 24 h). You must also report in to the officials at least one hour before leaving Estonia.

To clear customs, the list of crew members must be presented. Also keep in mind that it is not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products from Third Countries, and a limited amount of tobacco products, alcohol, and motor fuel are allowed. See more from Tax and Customs Board webpage.

Dirham port

Photo by: Dirham port

These are the most convenient routes when arriving to Estonia with a sailboat:

  • From Russia (Gulf of Finland): the first stop is only a few miles from the Russian border, Sillamäe Port; after that all the beautiful northern coast and rest of Estonia are open to visit.
  • From Finland: shortest and fastest way is straight across the Gulf of Finland: from Hanko to Dirhami or from Helsinki to Tallinn (30 to 40 miles).
  • From Sweden: safest way with reasonable day-sailing distances runs through Åland and Hanko to Dirhami as well. Another favoured route passes Bornholm, Öland, Gotland and Saaremaa to the Estonian islands and Pärnu. The latter is also suggested for arrival from other western and central European countries.
  • From Russia, Kaliningrad, and Baltic countries first stop on the Island of Saaremaa (Roomassaare Port for customs, if necessary) or Ruhnu is also a suggestion. From Poland you can sail up along the Lithuanian and Latvian coast and into Estonian waters.
Last updated : 15.08.2019

In category: Tallinn, West Estonia, Islands, North Estonia, Activities & Adventure