The  high-speed small vessels law 56(I)1992

A brief outline of the   Regulations (121/99)


THESE REGULATIONS APPLY TO ALL HIGH SPEED CRAFT = Engine powered Vessels capable of navigating at a speed of  at least 15 knots and  which have a  Length Over All (LOA)  not greater than 15 meters.




Part 1.  Covers the terminology used by the law. (Jet ski, etc).

Part 2.            Categories of High speed craft. There are  Two categories: class (A) for private use, class (B) For rental. (For Tourist purposes class “B” ).

The requirements regarding the construction and equipment of  High Speed Craft (HSC),  must comply with the provisions of the Law in force. This will be adjusted according to European Union Directive for High-speed craft.


Any HSC  below 6 metres must be unsinkable – contain buoyancy compartments.

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Safety Equipment and provisions: 


The engine:            The size and horsepower of the engine should be within the limits prescribed by the vessel’s  manufacturer.

Life jackets: HSC must include  lifejackets (keeping mouth+nose of unconscious person  out of water, or give at least 10 kgs buoyancy) or buoyancy aids(assisting survival of conscious person swimming in the water) at a number  equal to the number of persons allowed to be carried PLUS  one. HSC above 6 metres must in addition have a life saving ring and rope attachment.

Anchor:            HSC must have at least one anchor  suitable for her size. (except small i.e. jet-skis)

Oars:   Two oars with all the necessary paraphernalia, or paddles as necessary.

Bucket: One bucket  (baler) with rope attachment with a length twice the freeboard.

Fire Extinguisher: Fire extinguisher (foam or heavier in windy environment) at least two kilos which must be valid at all times.

Light:  Must carry a waterproof torch. With reserve batteries and lamp.

First Aid Box: with necessary medical paraphernalia.

Signals:            2 orange colour smoke signals and two red parachute flares. Smaller vessels are excempted (6 metres without deck) (except small, i.e. jetskis).

Sound signals: Air horn or other for HSC above 6 metres.

Navigation Lights: According to the International Regulations for the prevention of Collision at sea (colregs 1972 and 1980,1989).

Compass: For boats Above 6 metres.

Water Flooding: An emergency hand operated water pump for HSC above 6 metres.

VHF Communications: A 25-Watts VHF Marine radio for above 6 metres and 3 watts for smaller (the smaller must be floating and waterproof ).

Equipment Unsuitable for jet-skis and very small HSC are excempted (a list is given).


Smoke emission: Engine operation and subsequent smoke emission is prohibited if this is above the prescribed  rate by the engine manufacturer or if this is causing conspicuous problems to human beings (difficulties in breathing, vision, smell) and the environment. [Back to Top]

Maximum Carrying capacity:


Maximum Length Over All (LOA) of vessel (in metres)

Maximum number of  crew or passengers.















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HSC Marks. All HSC must carry a very clear registration number on their hull (Details and measurements are given by the regs). (20 cm height each figure or  5cm for small vessels  like jet-skis) .


Inspection: Class "A" HSC (private use) will be inspected once every 5 years by the Dept of Merchant Shipping, class B (public use) will be inspected every year. If the inspection  brings a positive result then  a  license to navigate is issued for the HSC (this is a  sticker  which MUST be exhibited on a very conspicuous surface on the vessel so it may easily be inspected by the Marine Police) . If not then  the HSC will not be allowed to be  used.

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Part 3.


License:  HSC operator license. Must have one at all times when using an HSC.

Persons above 17 may have a learner’s license, Above 18 may have a normal HSC operators license.

Issuing Authority: The department of merchant shipping in Limassol will be issuing these HSC operators licenses to all Cypriots which will pass the examinations. (TEL:05-848100)


The examiners will be selected by the responsible authority which is the Ministry of Communications and works and will be scrutinized by the Department of Merchant Shipping. Lessons and examiners will be carried out by the approved Nautical Clubs of Cyprus  which are under the Cyprus Sports Organization.

The cost for  each  person examined will be £35.

The KYRENIA  NAUTICAL  CLUB  has  been  the only  Club  which  has been  working for the  creation of this law for the last 10 years (since 1986-1987)    with the late Admiral Alexios Moschonas  of  the Ports  Authority of the Republic of Greece, and  it was  amongst  the first  Nautical Institutions in Cyprus to receive  permission to examine  applicants  for  the  high speed craft  operators  license.


Each  candidate must have a  health certificate as prescribed by the regulations not older than 6 months.


Practical boat handling skill examination: ability to control speed and direction of the HSC. Also must have the ability and knowledge to: prepare/start the engine, cast away and berth or anchor, maneuvers anchoring, stopping the engine, rowing, swimming., Know how the engine operates cooling, lubrication, fuelling electrics, troubleshooting,Firefighting, flooding, emergencies, M.O.B (man over board retrieval)  knots marlinespike and seamanship   .

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Theoretical knowledge to be examined: Lights and Navigational aids, Colregs, meteorology, lifesaving man-over-board, basic first aid related Cyprus Legislature.


NONE CYPRIOTS (TOURISTS) : If they do not have an equivalent license from their country,  making them eligible to operate an HSC then,  if they wish to use a HSC they may do so only if they accept to receive a very brief practical instruction (10-15 minutes) by the Operator/Owner  of the vessel. Each tourist wishing to rent a HSC  will be issued a TEMPORARY operators license (for 15 –30 days only) provided they sign a lengthy declaration (two pages ) making sure that the most important issues and the very basic knowledge has been received and being  comprehended. Class "B" vessels are rented under the strict supervision of the owner and  their  navigational activity should remain at all times within  line of sight of the owner.



Part 4.            Objects under tow.  :  Sea surface objects, flying objects.

            Towing a person of less than 12 yrs old on a flying towed object,  alone,  is prohibited unless accompanied by a person older than 18 yrs old.


            Flying at a distance less than 300 metres from any land or other object or any  sea area of depth of water  less than 2 meters  is  strictly  prohibited

            Using Flying objects in bad conditions  or not in exact compliance to manufacturers specs is prohibited,. The end of the towing line must be securely attached to the vessel.

The total length of the line must not exceed 100 meters when towing flying objects. Must not be used with wind speed above 16 knots and before or after daylight. A second person is required to monitor the towage.

THE REGULATIONS IN GENERAL PUT A VERY HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY ON THE OPERATOR OF THE HSC OWNERS OR BUSINESS. Similar lengthy detailed regulations exist for the towage of skiers. The towing rope must not exceed 50 metres. Skiing is prohibited at a distance closer than 200 metres to ANY beach . In sea areas marked by red buoys which are called or known as  "swimmers protection areas"  the skier and the vessel towing must have a distance NOT LESS than 100 metres from the buoys of  the swimmers protected areas (skiing less than 100 metres from the orange-red buoys is strictly  prohibited).

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NO HSC vessel is allowed to navigate at a speed higher than three (3) knots (3 knots is the swimming speed of a good swimmer, free style, without swimming fins)  at a distance equal or less than one hundred meters (100m) to the nearest land (AT ANY BEACH) (protected or not)


. HSC or any other floating  hull (it  includes even canoes,pedaloes,windsurfers etc) are strictly prohibited from entering declared  “swimmers protected areas” (from June to 30th of October from 07:30 to 20:30) which are marked by orange-red  colour buoys,

In such areas HSC have to keep a distance of  100 metres from the buoys. (usually the offshore line of orange colour buoys are anchored at a distance of 100 to 200 meters from the beach, so the HSC will have to navigate 200- 300 meters from the beach.)

Jet skis in particular are only allowed to operate between 10.00 –13.000 and 16.00-19.00  at a distance of NO LESS THAN 100 METRES  FROM THE RED BUOYS  OF THE SWIMMERS AREAS.  Jet ski operators wishing to operate outside this time limit  may do so  ONLY IF THEY OPERATE AT A DISTANCE NO LESS  THAN 500 METRES  FROM  THE BEACH.


IT IS  STRICTLY PROHIBITED to any HSC to move inside boat corridors which are sign posted and marked by two perpendicular to the beach ,  buoy-lines ,  at a speed greater than 3 knots.


It is prohibited for a HSC to create noise which is greater than 74dB(A) measured at a distance of 17 metres  from the engine at maximum revs. Wave jumping should be avoided.

Class  "A" Vessels are obliged to inform the Marine Police the  port, marina or fishing Shelter Authorities if they are planning a trip with duration more than 2 hours, giving details of  their sailing plan (Departure, Arrival, route, persons on board).

Please  always wear your lifejacket or buoyancy aid. It is not enough to have it on board. Should the Marine Police sees you without a buoyancy aid or a life jacket  you will be fined on the spot for £100 or £200


The Penalties  for infringing any of the above regulations are heavy. £2.000 or/and   2 years in prison.  

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In addition to the above we advice the following:

  1.                  If you are a Guest in Cyprus (tourist) Ask at the hotel reception and find out where is the nearest official swimmers protected area which is covered by a lifeguard unit. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO USE ONLY THOSE AREAS FROM 10:00 TO 17:00 (as life guards work during this very limited time period).


FLAG 1= RED HORIZONTAL STRIPE ON TOP OF YELLOW HORIZONTAL STRIPE=  You must  look for TWO(2) flags on the beach. These are marking the boundaries of  the covered by lifeguard beachfront . Please have in mind that a lifeguard under normal conditions is expected to operate satisfactorily at a range of no more than 100 yards (say approximately 100 metres) from the observation position. So it is highly recommended to swim within this range. These two flags mentioned above  should be  hoisted  upon commencement  of duty and should be lowered in the afternoon at the end of duty.

FLAG 2= GREEN = the Sea is safe to swim.

FLAG 3= YELLOW= Be cautious and careful as the wind speed is rising. Swim with caution .

FLAG 4= RED= Very Dangerous,  immediately come out. Do not swim.

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VERY IMPORTANT !!!   ALWAYS AVOID SWIMMING AT A DISTANCE OF LESS THAN 30-40 METRES FROM  THE EXTREMETIES OF COASTAL MAN MADE STRUCTURES,  LIKE  THE PERPENDICULAR OR PARALLEL  TO THE  BEACH  , STONE MADE  BREAK WATERS AS THERE IS USUALLY A STRONG  EDDY-FORM  CURRENT AT  THESE ENDS. (if you are carried away please do not panic, just stop struggling, swim calmly on the surface, the current will normally take you out at sea for 50-60 meters and then will bring you back further down on the beach - Do not try to fight back.).

  Glafkos Cariolou   K.C.C.F.

Kyrenia Nautical Club (dept. Open Sea).

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