Despite numerous and regular improvements in underlying models, surface drift prediction in the ocean remains a challenging task because of our yet limited understanding of all processes involved. Hence, deterministic approaches to the problem are often limited by empirical assumptions on underlying physics. Multi-model hyper-ensemble forecasts, which exploit the power of an optimal local combination of available information including ocean, atmospheric and wave models, may show superior forecasting skills when compared to individual models because they allow for local correction and/or bias removal. In this work, we explore in greater detail the potential and limitations of the hyper-ensemble method in the Adriatic Sea, using a comprehensive surface drifter database. The performance of the hyper-ensembles and the individual models are discussed by analyzing associated uncertainties and probability distribution maps. Results suggest that the stochastic method may reduce position errors significantly for 12 to 72??h forecasts and hence compete with pure deterministic approaches. ?? 2007 NATO Undersea Research Centre (NURC).