Own boat charter in Spain


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3 Sep 2003
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I am taking my motor cruiser to Spain (Empuriabrava) next year when I retire. I have a property there and in order to supplement my pension I am hoping to earn a little extra cash by offering my boat as a skippered chater for fishing and day trips. Does anyone know what Spanish rules and regulations for chartering are?
Mike McGregor


yes I can help you with some info on this subject. I have reserched this in depth. I live on the Costa Blanca and have just bought a new French built 43' catamaran. I am intneding to do some day sailing with this.

I would like to operate this as a legal and legitimate business. However, in Spain this is an almost impossible mission.

Basically the requirements are:
1. The boat must be Spanish registered
2. Vat of course must have been paid on it
3. The boat itself conforms to all EU safety standards
4. The necessaary comercail insurance should be in place.
5. The skipper has to be a qualified 'Patron de Caboyachty'. This is a peculiar Spanish term which makes it impossible for foreigners to skipper a charter boat. To gain this qualification one needs 600 days at sea whilst paying Spanish social security. Thus only Spanish persons who have worked for the merchant navy or such would qualify.

You may then reason that how is it possible for such a bouyant Charter industry to exist in the Spanish med with all this red tape. The answer is that in effect the industry operates by and large illegally.

In Spain one must get used to this 'Grey area' which exists.

I have not begun any charter work yet, but these are the facts as I have them from a specialist Marine lawyer in Alicante.

I hope this is of some help.


Good idea to do it as a skippered charter. Agree with dos amigos as above, charters (even big boats) is pretty much greyish, and often in cash. Nice lady called lisa at medcharter handles loads of boats (mostly bareboat), and the scheme seems to be that you get listed with lots of people, tellem what you have, what's on offer bareboat/not bareboat, week/weekend/day number of peeps and so on, and they can do some selling for a cut of the loot. In August anything can get charter work, other times the prices cheaper and choosier.


I have to disagree, a lot of paperwork but not impossible, you can have a british registered boat doing charter.
First you must approve with all british regulations (code of practice) and have been surveyed for this reason, once you have your small commercial vessel certificate you have to get a letter from the mca confirming the legal requirements for operating a uk registered charter boat in Spain, and that you comply to them, a letter of activities, Insurance for charter, and register your charter company here in spain (maybe get a gestor to do this and your monthy tax and so forth), but you need to take with you to the marina mercante the IAE (the gestor will know) along with your RYA certificate with comercial endosements, all translated into spanish.
If you wish to register the vessel here in spain as a charter vessel on lista 6, you will still have to register your company with the marina mercante and get the IAE, Insurance policy, safety equipment ect. check what exactly at the marina mercante.
Its a lot of paperwork and running around but dont just give up and charter your vessel without the correct paperwork.