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ABOUT CROATIA

DIVING

 

Diving tourism in Croatia has been increasing in popularity 1996, following the cessation of war activities in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Annual growth in the number of tourists has been between 15 and 20%, and with it grew the number of professional diving centers organized in the near vicinity of the most attractive locations along the coastline, in order to enable divers from all over the world to abandon themselves to enjoying the Croatian submarine world, while at the same time being able to feel secure under professional supervision and with all the necessary safety measures in place. Today, the number of registered and licensed diving centers exceeds 100, with the largest number being located in Istria and Kvarner, and in the area of Central Dalmatia.

Undoubtedly the most attractive diving locations in the Adriatic are underwater cliff faces and reefs, caves and the wrecks of ships and aero planes. The Croatian land mass ranks among the most specific in the world: Dalmatia itself lies on karst, full of crevices, caves, sink holes and channels. Based on the number of caves so far discovered on land it is estimated that there are at least 1500 underwater caves and holes still undiscovered in the Adriatic. In addition to plant and animal species endemic to the Adriatic, which are a highly sought-after target for photo and video safaris, the most attractive locations are those which conceal traces of times gone by: archaeological localities and underwater wrecks.

The oldest localities containing the remains of sunken ships date from the times of Antiquity, and are to be found on the ancient trading routes leading from Greece towards northern Italy, and all the colonies founded along that route on the shores of the Adriatic: Cavtat (Epidaurus), Mljet (Meleda), Korcula ( Kokira), Hvar ( Pharos), Vis (Issa), Split (Asphalatos / Spalatum), Solin (Salona), Trogir (Tragurium), Rogoznica (Heracleia), anchorage sites in the Kornati archipelago (Zirje, Lavsa, Murter), the wider area of Sibenik and Zadar (Liburnia / Jadera), Pula (Pola), Roman villas on the Brijuni islands, and many other micro-locations once used by ancient mariners as refuges and anchorages. In the Middle Ages trades links between Italy and the Middle East intensified, Venice became a booming trading metropolis, towns along the Croatian littoral experience strong development (Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Pula); naval battles of the 19th and 20th centuries leave their traces on the sea bed. Since WWII many wrecks have been lifted from the bottom of the sea (particularly along the Istrian coast), but there remains a considerable number of wrecks available to sports divers. Those at greater depths are still biding their time, waiting to be discovered and researched.

It is our desire to present all those special qualities to the world tourist market, particularly at nautical and diving fairs. This is why the Croatian National Tourist Board believes that a readily identifiable, attractive and exclusive approach to the promotion of diving tourism as a very young and promising, and highly specific branch of tourism, is very important indeed.

Legislative regulation regarding underwater activities in Croatia is still in the phase of defining the final legal provisions, the aim being to regulate development of diving tourism in the most effective way, based on practice and application, while at the same time preserving the wealth of the Adriatic underwater world and to increase diving safety. According to current regulations it is possible to dive in Croatian waters if one has valid permission (annual diving identity card at a cost of 100 HRK per annum, and individual Permission for independent underwater activities, costing 2400 HRK per annum. Should tourist diving activity be planned in the registered diving center (presented in this catalogue), then individual permission is not necessary. There are zones where diving is prohibited even with individual permission. These are those zones under special protection by the Ministry of Culture, and diving in those areas may be allowed but only when accompanied by a diving guide from an authorized diving centre.

In other words, you can dive anywhere in the Adriatic provided that you are accompanied by a professional guide (diving guide or diving instructor) whose job is to take ensure your safety and to show you diving locations in a direct and informed way. Every professionally organized diving centre fulfils all the conditions required to make your diving trip a safe, interesting and unforgettable experience.

 

AUTONOMOUS DIVING IN THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA LICENSES, APPROVALS, ORGANIZATIONAL FORMS AND ZONES UNDER SPECIAL PROTECTION

Diving with autonomous diving gear (SCUBA diving) in the Republic of Croatia is permitted to local and foreign natural persons if they posses a diving card which upon the approval of he Ministry of Sea, transport, tourism and development (Ordinance on the carrying out of underwater activities: NN 47/99, 23/03, 52/03 and 58/03) is issued by the Croatian Diving Association (HRS).

The diving card is valid for 365 days from the date of issue and cost 100 Kuna.

The distribution of diving cards is organized through the sales centers of the HRS (Croatian Diving Association) and information regarding the nearest sales centre is available at every amateur club or professional tourist diving centre. Most of the diving clubs and diving centers act as sales centers of the HRS (Croatian Diving Association) and sell diving cards.

It is not necessary to posses a diving card for free diving (APNEA) and free diving is permitted on the area of the territorial sea of the Republic of Croatia without any specific limitations, except in specific zones insofar as it has been regulated by special provisions (e.g. National parks, etc.)

Two basic forms of organized diving in the Republic of Croatia:

1. ORGANIZED DIVING:
Organized diving consists of diving activities which professional tourist diving centers (companies) or amateur diving clubs (associations) possessing concession approvals for training of divers and organization of diving excursions carryout in the area of territorial seas and interior waters of the Republic of Croatia.
Organized diving is carried out by an authorized diving instructor (minimal category DIVING INSTRUCTOR - DIVE MASTER - DIVECON or equivalent) who shall keep an official diving log verified at the harbor master's office and branch of the harbor master's office and who has a complete first aid kit with oxygen (O2) at the location of the dive.
A list of professional tourist diving center (PRO DIVING CROATIA) can be found on the web pages www.prodiving.hr
 and www.diving.hr 

2. INDIVIDUAL DIVING

Individual diving is a form of underwater activity carried out by local and foreign natural persons without the supervision and organization of certified diving instructors from diving center or diving clubs.
Natural person who wish to carry out underwater activities independently with the use of autonomous equipment in this manner must possess an Approval for individual diving which they can obtain at the harbor master's office or branch of the harbor master's office.
The fees for individual diving amount to 2,400 Kuna for 12 months. Divers who carryout underwater activities in this manner are not obligated to but they independently assume responsibility for diving safety, as well as responsibility for the manner of carrying out the dive (in accordance with legislation of the Republic of Croatia).

 

 

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