In this article, we cover the new charter laws in Spain. Read on to find out more and why they’re set to positively impact yachts and the Spanish charter market.

Charter laws in Spain - Spain coastline

About The New Changes

In an effort to stimulate the charter market in Spain, recent legal changes have revoked two outdated regulations related to yacht charter, as well as the dispatch and clearance procedures for yachts entering and leaving Spanish waters. Now, a more streamlined charter license has been introduced.

This development is particularly favorable for yacht charters in both the Balearics and mainland Spain. Previously, only yachts under 14 meters with an EU flag were permitted to engage in charter activities in Spanish waters. However, complications arose with the advent of Brexit, as UK-flagged yachts under 14 meters were prohibited from chartering in Spain.

The newly issued Royal Decree Number 186/2023 (dated 21 March 2023) aims to annul the Ministerial Order of 4 December 1985. It also brings an end to the outdated Vessel Clearance Regulations of 2000. These revisions mark a positive step forward for the yacht charter industry in Spanish regions.

What This Means For Charter Licenses

The new changes imply that non-EU flagged yachts (including those from the UK) can now participate in charter activities, subject to the same obligations applicable to EU-flagged yachts.

Moreover, a forthcoming simplified dispatch and clearance system is set to be implemented on 1 July 2024. This process will be streamlined through the submission of an electronic declaration or affidavit, eliminating the need for prior and explicit authorization—commonly known as the ‘charter license’ – to be obtained in person at the Harbour Master’s office.

The adoption of an electronic format aims to simplify the enrollment and disenrollment of crews, easing congestion, particularly during peak holiday periods, and minimizing delays in preparing yachts for charter and recreational purposes.

Yachts under charter and/or with professional crews will be granted immediate authorisation to begin activities upon the submission of the declaration or affidavit of responsibility, accompanied by the crew list.

New Renewals & Applications

Yachts applying for their initial charter license must furnish a designated set of documents. This encompasses:

  • Safety certificates
  • Crew lists
  • Endorsements
  • Insurance
  • Other pertinent records

All are stored electronically for future accessibility. For yachts already with a valid charter license, they may transition to the newly streamlined procedure when their current charter license expires.

Temporary Navigation Permits

The updated regulation amends the Royal Decree 685/2010 (dated May 20, 2010) governing the issuance of Temporary Navigation Permits for yachts. These permits serve as a valuable resource for:

  • Shipyards
  • Construction firms
  • Yacht dealers
  • Distributors,

These permits enable yachts to conduct sea trials and be showcased at boat shows – without the requirement of formal registration.

The recent Royal Decree enhances the terms of these temporary permits. It now allows extensions for a period of up to five years from the initial issuance of the first temporary permit.

A Welcome Boost For Spanish Charter Operations

The Spanish legislative body has demonstrated a commitment to moving away from outdated regulations and adapting to the dynamic yacht charter market. This effort deserves a positive reception from the yachting community.

The new regulation is a welcomed boost for charter operations in Spain and a catalyst for the local economy.

Carlos Ara, President of the Spanish Superyacht Association remarks on the charter laws in Spain:

“We are in a very preliminary stage after the new regulation to know what the real impact in the charter business will be, but it is always good to have new laws that try to support the charter industry in Spain.”

To keep up to date with the latest Superyacht Content News, click here.

Sign up to our Newsletter below:

Newsletter Signup

Related articles