June 20, 2023

Overview of the Maritime Navigation Planning Regulations in Spain


On March 21st, 2023, Spain introduced significant maritime planning navigation regulations with the aim of modernising the navigation regime for ships sailing through Spanish maritime waters. These regulations bring about notable changes to the maritime industry, affecting charter operators, yachts, and crew members. Let’s examine the key highlights of these regulations.

The recent legislation brings about significant modifications to the charter licensing produces in Spain. One of the major changes introduced by the new regulations is the charter licensing process. The previous pre-approval regime has been replaced with a more efficient system. Under the new framework, operators can obtain a charter license in Spain by submitting an affidavit declaration of responsibility. This simplified clearance mechanism aims to facilitate the chartering process while ensuring compliance with necessary safety standards.

The implementation of this new regulation is scheduled to take effect starting from the 2024 charter season. However, for the current 2023 season, the existing approval mechanism will remain in place. It is crucial for charter operators and yacht owners to familiarise themselves with the upcoming changes and ensure proper adherence to the current regulations in the interim period.

The simplified clearance mechanism does not exempt yachts and operators from the requirement to process all required certificates. The Spanish authorities have emphasised the importance of safety compliance in these regulations. Yachts and operators are required to have all necessary certificates in place, ensuring the highest safety standards for passengers and crew. Failure to comply with these regulations may lead to severe penalties. The new framework establishes strict consequences for yachts that do not adhere to the necessary safety regulations while conducting charters in Spain.

The new affidavit declaration will be applicable to yachts that have previously obtained a charter licence. Yachts who seek a charter licence for the first time will still be required to follow the approval mechanism and submit all the necessary documentation pertaining to the yacht and crew.

Finally, the new law indirectly permits yachts registered as pleasure or private vessels to engage in charter activities for specific durations. It remains essential to observe how this provision will be put into practice, but it undeniably creates new opportunities for privately registered yachts to engage in charters within Spanish waters during certain time periods.  

Charter operators, yacht owners, and crew members should stay informed about these changes and ensure timely compliance to navigate smoothly within the new regulatory framework.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice and should not substitute for counsel. The information is based on the opinion of an independent expert and does not claim to be complete or definitive.