All three Baltic countries – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – are members of the EU, NATO and Schengen Area, and use the euro.
ATMs are widely available.
Climate and Weather (Climatic Summary)
The Baltic Sea has a temperate continental climate. Spring and autumn are relatively long in the coastal regions of the Baltic Sea. Winds from the N and NE bring cold arctic air to the area, resulting in severe frost in winter. W winds bring humid and E winds bring dry air masses to the Baltic Sea, determining the local precipitation pattern.
The region’s climate is warmer and more humid than elsewhere at this latitude. The average temperature in the East Baltic is -6°C in January, and about 17°C in July. On clear summer days the temperature climbs over 30°C and is above 23°C on most days during summer.
Moderate to strong SW and N winds dominate in the open parts of the Baltic Sea. The wind pattern in the Gulf of Finland is different – SW and W winds dominate with strong and moderate winds; in spring and summer NE winds also occur quite often. Westerly storms are stronger than easterly storms, with maximum wind speed up to 22–23 m/s. The yearly average wind speed in the West Estonian Archipelago and in the open coastal areas of Baltic Sea, measuring 10 m from the ground level, is 6–7 m/s. The inland wind speed is significantly lower. Winds are stronger in autumn and spring, when the cyclonic activity is high, and pressure gradients between the low-pressure area of Iceland and the high-pressure area of Siberia are high. In spring and summer, a local wind blowing onshore in the daytime and offshore at night is quite frequent, the reason for which lies in the difference between temperatures of the sea and the land.
The soft maritime climate results in a significant amount of water vapor in the air throughout the year. The air is moister in the autumn and winter. In spring, the weather is mainly dry and clear. Relative humidity is the lowest in May and June, when it decreases to 70% in the area of the Gulf of Rīga.
Good visibility is a common feature on the East Baltic Coast. In about 80% of observations, visibility is greater than 5 nmi in summer.
As a result of relatively high humidity and the thermal contrast of land and sea, fog is quite common on the coast and above the coastal sea, causing visibility to drop to less than 0.5 nmi. During the warm season, the temperatures that generate fog in May are 4…5°C and in July – 12…15°C. From August till October, fogs emerge most often at low temperatures – 2…12°C.
The sky is usually cloudy in cyclonic conditions, and clear in anticyclonic conditions. Cyclones reach the region quite rarely in spring and summer, most frequently in November and December. There is a very close connection between cyclonic activity and the amount of low clouds (stratocumulus, stratus, nimbostratus). Cloudiness is the highest in November and December.
The average annual rainfall in the coastal area is between 550–650 mm. The highest rainfall occurs in August; on the islands in the Gulf of Finland – also in September and October. There are approximately 100–120 rainy days per annum, assuming a rainy day is a day with at least 1 mm of precipitation.
There are approximately 12–14 days with thunderstorms per annum in the area, mainly from May until August, very rarely during other months. Heavy rain, hail, strong gusts, tornados, and squalls at sea usually occur together with thunderstorms; in rare occasions you can also witness waterspouts.
Mirages, i.e., fata morganas occur quite often during spring and autumn in clear and quiet weather, like a natural convex lens that optically deforms the visible distance and dimensions of objects. Objects observed visually at sea or on the coast, as well as islands, may appear to be higher than they really are or shifted aside.
There are almost no permanent currents in the Baltic Sea. The speeds of tidal currents are also slow – 0.02–0.04 kn, although in some areas of the Baltic Sea current speeds may rise to 0.2 kn as a result of different tidal components.
The main driving force of currents in the Baltic Sea is the wind. The surface current that appears with permanent wind is directed 45 degrees to the right of the wind direction. In deeper waters, the flow turns clockwise. In shallow waters, the surface current’s direction is more similar to the wind’s direction. In moderate winds, the typical surface current speed in the open waters of the Baltic Sea is 0.3–0.4 kn and in the gulfs – 0.2–0.3 kn.
The Baltic Sea, as a typical inland sea, is separated from the ocean by the narrow and shallow Danish Straits. Limited water exchange through the straits determines the hydrology of the brackish water and the dynamics of the water masses in the Baltic Sea. Research has shown that tides in the Baltic Sea cause only minor fluctuations in the water level, 5–7 cm. Fluctuations in the sea level of the Baltic Sea occur mainly due to seasonality. Momentary values of sea level may change within the amplitude of 2.3 m in most parts of the coastal sea, but it may vary at different parts of the coast due to the character of the coastal sea, local wind patterns, etc. The sea level near the coast changes within the range of +130 cm and -100 cm.
The Baltic Sea is a relatively small and closed area. Quite sharp wind waves predominate, having mainly the same direction as the wind in the open part of the sea. The Baltic Sea is mostly calm during spring and summer. During light and moderate winds, the wave height in both coastal and open sea is relatively even. Wind speeds of 6–8 m/s produce waves of significant height of up to 1 m, and wind speeds of 9–11 m/s produce waves up to 1.5 m. In even stronger winds, the wave height substantially varies in different parts of the sea, depending on the wind direction and persistency, and reaches its peak in 6–8 hours.
The yearly average water temperature in coastal Baltic Sea is 7.1…7.4°C, influenced mainly by air temperature. The highest average water temperatures occur in July and August (15.6…16.7°C). During calm and sunny summers, temperature in coastal surface layers rises up to 25°C, but may quickly drop to 5…10°. This phenomenon is called upwelling, where the warm surface layer is carried away by offshore winds and is substituted by cold water masses from deeper layers of the sea.
Variability of sea ice formation, duration and breakup is extremely high, and every winter is unique. The freezing point of seawater in East Baltic Sea area is approximately -0.4°C due to the low salinity, and even higher in the vicinity of rivers discharging fresh water into the sea.
Shoreline in total: 2400 nmi
Lithuania: 45 nmi
Latvia: 286 nmi
Estonia: 2051 nmi
The East Baltic Coast sailing region covers the Latvian and Estonian seas on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland. On the mainland, the region is neighboured by Lithuania to the south and Russia to the east. The shortest crossing from Latvia to Sweden is 80 nautical miles, from Latvia to Lithuania – 50 nautical miles, and from Estonia to Finland – 25 nautical miles.
The region has an outer sea border of about 400 nautical miles. The Estonian coastline is highly jagged and there are over 2200 islands and islets in the region. The Latvian coastline is straighter, and there are very few natural harbours and anchorages in the region. It is advisable to choose a port for stopover. Official waterways are well-measured and charted in digital navigation systems, and the nautical signs are correct.
Neigbouring marinas in Lithuania
Klaipėda Castle Harbour
Smiltynė Yacht Club Marina
Information about passing by Kaliningrad in the Russian territorial waters and travel tips for Kaliningrad →
Call sign Rescue Centre Helsinki
+358 294 100 2
On-call channels and frequency
VHF Ch 16
VHF-DSC Ch 70
MF 2187,5 kHz
Call sign Lyngby Radio
+45 72 850 380
On-call channels and frequency
VHF Ch 16
VHF Ch 70 DSC
MF 2182 kHz
MF 2187,5 kHz DSC