Our detailed guide to European destinations.

Latvia

Things are modernising rapidly in Latvia, and guidebooks are quickly out-of-date. Communications with the rest of Europe are improving, and there are increasing numbers of tourists, particularly Germans.

EU member?

No.

Visas?

No.

Ship’s papers

Ship’s registration papers.

List of crew, with dates of birth and passport numbers.

Crew papers

Passports.

Report to Customs?

Yes, at ports of entry Riga, Ventspils or Liepaja. Riga has the best facilities. Notify Customs of all valuable items on board eg cameras, watches, radios, etc, as these may be checked later against receipts and money-changing dockets. Keep a record of all your financial transactions in the country, and all bills and receipts. It is illegal to make trade, or sell goods.

Diesel

At a few harbours.

Water

At most harbours.

Shore power 220V AC

At some harbours. Take a long extension lead.

LPG

Not available.

Camping Gaz

Not available.

Berthing fees

Cheaper than UK.

Currency

Lat (100 santimes).

The Lat is now a fairly stable, strong currency. Take small denominations of US dollars, Deutschmarks, and Finnish currency if you wish, but locals say you’re likely to be overcharged if you use foreign money.Cash is more widely used than credit cards, cheques etc.

Credit cards

Accepted in larger hotels and shops in Riga. A few cashpoints eg at airport, and large banks in Riga. Not yet found in smaller towns. Can obtain cash from credit cards by going inside bank.

Eurocheques

Occasionally accepted.

Travellers cheques

Not all banks will change them. Not widely known.

Emergencies ­ VHF

Riga and Ventspils coast radio stations monitor Ch 16.

Emergencies ­ phone

Fire 01

Police 02

Ambulance 03

Pets?

Yes, allowed in if have proof of anti-rabies injection and certificate of health from a vet. However, there is a risk of your dog catching parvo, which claims hundreds of puppies each year, or hepatitis.

Telephone boxes

Many phone boxes now on international digital system. Buy tokens. International calls can also be made from hotels.

Dialling code to UK

0044 then the number, omitting first 0.

Weather forecasts

At time of writing, no VHF or other broadcast services.

Charts and books

Admiralty charts. May be out of date as surveying used to be restricted, and new buoyage being introduced.

The Baltic Sea. RCC Pilotage Foundation. Imray.

RYA booklet C1. Planning a Foreign Cruise.

www.ybw-books.com

British Embassy

5J, Alunana Street, Riga LV1010. Tel: 00371 7338126.

Embassy in UK

Latvian Embassy, 45 Nottingham Place, London W1U 5LR. Tel: 020 7312 0040. Email: embassy@embassyoflatvia.co.uk

The Latvian embassy in London can send a booklet, Riga in Your Pocket, with up-to-date info in English.

Languages

Latvian and Russian. Many older people speak German; young people’s second language is English.

September 2001