Recreational yachting gets its own regulation

Recreational yachting gets its own regulation
Regulation of Maritime Navigation will streamline administrative procedures

It was announced during the X Nautical Congress and today it is official. The Council of Ministers has approved the Regulation of Maritime Navigation, as published in the Official State Gazette (BOE).

After several months of work and discussions between the Spanish nautical employer  organization ANEN, the Directorate General of Merchant Marine (DGMM) and other industry stakeholders, the Regulation of Maritime Navigation is a reality. This is approved in the RD 186/2023 of 21 March, published today in the BOE.

The Regulation of Maritime Navigation introduces a series of measures to streamline administrative procedures in the maritime authorities, such as the establishment of a simplified clearance regime for pleasure boats and vessels based on the mechanism of the responsible declaration, leaving behind the obsolete clearance system that slowed down procedures and largely collapsed the maritime authorities in summer periods.

In addition, the obligation to apply for clearance is limited to ships and pleasure craft that carry out a commercial activity or have a professional crew, which, in most cases, will be able to benefit from simplified clearance. This will allow them to start their activity from the moment they submit the documentation specified in this regulation.

Recreational craft used for private use and without a professional crew will be exempt from clearance, as will rowing boats, jet skis and floating recreational craft for beach activities.

Another of the objectives of this regulation is to achieve greater competitiveness in yacht charter at European level. For this reason, the Order of 4 December 1985 on the chartering of pleasure boats has been repealed. It had been left empty of content after the introduction of the responsible declaration for the start of the activity of nautical chartering by Law 17/2009, of 23 November, on free access to service activities and their exercise. This means that there will be the possibility of chartering non-EU flagged vessels under 14 metres in length.

It also includes the amendment of two pieces of legislation. The first is Royal Decree 1027/1989 of 28 July 1989 on the flag state, registration of ships and maritime registry. It replaces the references to provisional licence, which is not provided for in the new regulation, with the provisional entry in the register of ships. The second is the amendment of Royal Decree 685/2010, of 20 May, which regulates the granting of temporary navigation permits for certain recreational vessels, as some practical issues have been detected that require revision, especially at this time when a new regime of ship and vessel clearance is being regulated. The reform entails an improvement in maritime safety and also in market surveillance.

The Royal Decree will not enter into force until 20 days from now, with the exception of chapters II, III and IV, which will enter into force on 1 July 2024. The DGMM plans a staggered application of the decree until that date.

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