If you were thinking you’d run out of places to sail, think again. As of May 25, 2012 the inland waterways of Russia are now open to foreign-flagged vessels for recreational purposes. Closed since 1936, the Russian government is loosening this Stalin-era regulation in what they hope will be an economy-boosting move.
Western Russia is crisscrossed with hundreds of interconnected waterways that wind between small towns and major cities such as St. Petersburg and Moscow. Almost all of these waterways have been dredged, with a minimum depth of 10ft. Though many of the area yacht clubs aren’t quite to western standards, the St. Petersburg Sea Yacht Club and Moscow’s Royal Yacht Club are both equipped with electricity, hot showers and other amenities.
No special permits are required to enter, but there are still some regulations regarding the types of boats and crew allowed through the channels. Foreign citizens are required to obtain traveling visas and all non-commercial boats must have less than 12 crewmembers aboard, at least one of whom speaks Russian. The Russian-speaking member does not have to be a hired Russian captain, which was required of all ships, commercial and otherwise, until now.
These regulations open up an entirely new watery world to cruising sailors. Sailing in Russia will no doubt require more planning, but we believe the destination will justify the journey.
To view a list of open ports, click here
For a clickable version of the map below, click here
Photos courtesy of visitrussia.org.uk
Map created by Lisa Gabrielson