Diving in Croatia

The Croatian sea attracts not only sailors, but many lovers of underwater life as well.
Recreational diving is regulated by the Rule Book of Underwater Activities, issued by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Communications.
Each diver has to possess a diver identification card, issued by the Croatian Diving Association, which can be bought in diving clubs and centres and in authorized tourist agencies along the Adriatic coast.
The diver identification card is valid for 365 days and costs 100 kunas. It can be issued only to persons who possess a valid diving certificate from an international diving school.
Diving is permitted in prohibited zones only if the diver is accompanied by a diving centre that has a concession license of the Ministry of Culture or national park for that zone for the year 2003.

Diving may be organized or individual.
- Organized diving is diving performed exclusively in the company of a guide or a diving instructor verified by the Ministry of Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia, and organized by a diving centre or a diving club registered in the Republic of Croatia.
- Individual diving is performed on the basis of Permits for individual diving. Permits are issued by the Port Authorities. Permits are issued to persons with a valid diver's card of the Croatian Diving Federation for the period of one year from the date of issue. The cost of issuing the Permit is 2400.00 KN.

The top diving organization is the Croatian Diving Association, which conducts dive training, and in addition to other projects, actively participates in protecting and preserving the sub marin e world. In addition to the Croatian Diving Association, which brings together all the associations related to recreational sport diving, is the Association for Diving Tourism, a professional association of companies which deal with diving, established under the auspices of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.

Zones of prohibited diving

The zones of prohibited diving include the Brijuni and Krka National Parks, inland water areas that include ports, accesses to ports, anchorages, areas of heavy traffic, special reserves and nature parks (Malostonski Bay, Lim Channel, Telaščica nature park) and sea areas within a 100 nautical mile radius of anchored war ships and secure military objects on the coast. Diving licenses are issued by the Ministry of Culture in local authorized centres.
For additional information, feel free to contact:
  • Ministry of Culture, Department for Archaeology
tel: +3851/ 61 16 848, fax: +3851 61 16 849.
  • Department for Conservation, Split
Porinova 2, Split
tel: +385/21/ 305 430
  • Department for Conservation, Dubrovnik
tel: +385/20/ 411 075

Zones of controlled diving

The zones of controlled diving include the Kornati and Mljet National Parks . Licenses are issued by park authorities.
With previous consent of the Ministry of Culture and its departments, you can dive at the following sites: the islands of Vis, Biševo, Svetac, Brusnik, Sušac, Kopište, Donji Škoji, Vrhovnjaci, Palagruža, within a range of 300 meters around the islands and the island Jabuka, within a 300 meter radius of the sunken ships Szent Istvan, Premuda, Coriolanus Novigrad, Baron Gautsch, St. Ivan, S-57 on the peninsula Pelješac, and archaeological findings near Žirje and Cavtat.
Underwater cameras may be used and the archaeological findings can be explored only by special permit from the Ministry of Culture.
The following diving schools are registered with the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Croatia : BSAC, CMAS, IANTD, PADI and SSI.
In the event of a diving accident, dial the emergency number:
National Center for Sea Search and Rescue
tel: +385 9155
VHF channels 16,10,7

The DAN International Foundation for Improving Diving Conditions.

A diving security network, which provides useful advice in the case of an accident, medical assistance, security… They organize courses and seminars as well as providing assistance in the field.
For more information, visit the site: www.daneurope.org
e-mail: danhr@zg.hinet.hr
To gain an insight into the wealth of the Adriatic , we suggest the top 10 diving locations:

Top 10 diving destinations

Location 1: Istria , Baron Gautsch 
Depth: 28-42 metres
Experience required: advanced level
Attraction: wreck of a passenger ferry
Description: The Baron Gautsch sank in 1914 when it struck an underwater mine. It served as a passenger ship on the route from Kotor to Trieste . The upper deck is to be found at 28, and the lower at 36 metres. The bottom is at 42 metres. The wreck is well preserved. Entrance into the ship is possible.
Location 2: Cres, Lina 
Depth: 22-55 metres
Experience required: advanced level
Attraction: wreck of a trade ship
Description: The Lina was used for transporting wood from Rijeka to Sicily , but due to thick fog, she struck an underwater reef and sank. The wreck is well preserved. It lies on a sediment bottom. The top of the bow is at 22 metres and the stern is at 55 metres. Entrance inside the ship is possible.
Location 3: Susak, reef Margarina
Depth: 5 – 40 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attraction: the remainders of the ship-wreckage, “tegulas”, fragments of amphorae
Description: the underwater canyon begins a few meters to the left of the centre of the reef, which descends from 5 to 17 metres and in the incision is the wreck of a ship, which was used to transport construction materials. From this point on, the terrain continues to descend further. Approximately a hundred meters away at a depth of 20 metres are the remainders of the “tegulas”, pillars used in construction. Numerous schools of fish swim above the reef top and fragments of amphorae can be found in many of the reef recesses.
Location 4: Kornati, Rašip
Depth: 3-65 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attraction: colourful and diverse sea life
Description: on the outer side of the island is a cliff, which descends from a depth of 3 to 65 metres. The sea is crystal clear, often with a visibility of over 40 metres. The wall is overgrown with corals, sponges, mosses and many schools of various species of fish swimming about.
Location 5: Pakleni islands, Stambedar 
Depth: 5 – 45 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attractions: beautiful gorgonians, rich sea world
Description: Stambedar is a small island belonging to the group of islands called the Pakleni islands. It is interesting to divers because of the beautiful underwater wall, which extends from 5 to 45 metres in depth. Numerous red and lilac gorgonians can be found in the depths of the Pakleni islands. The site is crowded with fishes, algae, snails, sea urchins and other sea creatures.
Location 6: Sušac, Te Vega
Depth: 5 – 35 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attractions: sea pond
Description: a pond is located near the cape at Na Žene. Access is possible only through an underwater tunnel, found at a depth of 5 metres and is approximately 2 metres in length. Steep cliffs surround the pond, which are 5 to 3 metres deep. When entering the open water it is possible to head either to the left or right towards the underwater wall, which is overgrown with sea organisms.
Location 7: Biševo, Modra Spilja ( Blue Cave )
Depth: 3 – 40 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attraction: underwater cave, wall, wealth of fish species
Description: Modra Spilja is well known for its shimmering blue waters within. It is possible to enter underwater or by boat through the narrow corridor, which broadens into large area which is partly sunk, found partly below and partly above the surface of the sea. It is best to visit the cave in the summer months, in the afternoon, when the light breaks and creates the miraculous blue effect within the cave. Apart from the cave, diving towards the next cove is beautiful.
Location 8: Pelješac, S 57
Depth: 25-39 metres
Required experience: advanced level
Attraction: a well-preserved wreck of a German torpedo ship
Description: The S 57 was a German torpedo ship, which sank on 19 October 1944 following an attack by three British destroyers. The wreck is extremely well preserved, the front anti-aircraft armament can be seen and can still be moved and there are still torpedoes in the torpedo tubes. The ship lies on the sediment bottom. Entry is not accessible.
Location 9: Dubrovnik , the Taranto wreck
Depth: 23-55 metres
Required experience: advanced level
Attraction: a well-preserved wreck of a trade ship
Description: This ship sank in 1943 after it struck an allied mine. Fragments of the ship cargo, motor and tractors can be seen scattered around the wreck. The wreck broke into two halves, the stern sank into the sand, while the bow is raised at an angle of 45 degrees and leans against the underwater cliff. Schools of fish and two great groupers dwell in the wreck.
Location 10: Elaphite Islands , St. Andrija 
Depth: 3 – 78 metres
Experience required: beginner to advanced level
Attraction: a beautiful underwater wall
Description: the most beautiful site for diving is the outer wall of the island. There the cliff descends almost vertically from 3 to 78 metres. An underwater cave is located at a 26 metre depth. The wall is crowded with different species of fish, corals, algae and the red coral (Corallium rubrum) dwells in the depths of St. Andrija.
A list of diving centres in Croatia :
Croatian Diving Association
Dalmatinska 12
10000 Zagreb

tel: +385 1/ 48 48 765
fax: +385 1/ 48 49 119
e-mail: info@diving-hrs.hr


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