The research project deals with the legal aspects of the establishment, management and the activities of the nautical tourism ports in Croatia, with a special focus on marina operator’s liabilities, insurance arrangements, standards of maritime safety and security and marine environmental protection.

The nautical tourism is a branch of economy that is of a strategic interest to the Republic of Croatia. There are about 112 nautical tourism ports in Croatia, including about 56 marinas, 16 dry dock marinas and 36 nautical tourism ports of other types. The total capacity of berths is about 17.221. The total income of the nautical tourism ports in 2014 was over 94 million euros, and there is a constant stabile increase of the income from this activity each year.

In accordance with the Nautical Tourism Development Strategy of the Republic of Croatia for the period 2009 – 2019, there is a plan for the construction and development of a number of new nautical tourism ports and a substantial increase of the number of berths. Considering this strategic orientation towards the further development of the nautical tourism as an important branch of the national economy, Croatia has an interest in providing clear and competitive quality standards for the nautical tourism ports, in order to achieve a more favourable position in comparison with the other Mediterranean states.

The research project consists of a comparative analysis of the respective legislation, insurance arrangements and court practice in the European countries; analysis of the European marina operators’ common practices, general terms and conditions, their experiences in the combat against and dealing with the adverse events such as vessel thefts, fire, unauthorised entry, marine accidents within the port, marine pollution, etc. The idea is to propose improvements in the legal framework relating to the regime of liability and insurance of the Croatian marina operators, with a view of enhancing their competitiveness, safety, security and environmental protection standards. In particular, a recommended model of general terms and conditions will be created as an innovative business solution for marina operators and a possible reform of the respective legislation will be proposed, paying due respect to the necessary compliance with the relevant EU legislation. The proposed project is aimed at consolidating the relevant national legislation and clarifying the related legal concepts through the currently lacking doctrine, with a view of unifying the domestic court practice and contributing to legal certainty in the interest of all parties involved. This should lead to a progress and further sustainable development of the nautical tourism sector in Croatia subject to the requirements of the marine environmental protection, maritime safety and security, particularly considering the country’s strategic orientation to that sector of economy and the planned substantial increase of the nautical tourism ports’ berthing capacities in the following years.

Besides the acknowledged maritime law researchers as team members, the project will gather the related expert professionals with a view of developing a cooperation between the theory and practice and amongst all the interested keyholders, including the marina operators, insurance companies, charter agencies, the Ministry of maritime affairs, transport and infrastructure, the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection and the other competent public bodies.