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In Spain the General Management of the Merchant Marine is responsible for registering your boat and flag.
If you wish to bring your boat from abroad to keep in Spain, you will need to register it and you will be given a plate number, which is basically the same process as for any vehicle. All boat registrations are done through the Registry of Ships, with an important difference concerning recreational boats. Additionally, a boat from another country which is the same as a newly built ship, has to go through the flag granting process which grants it the license to fly the national flag.
To achieve this registration the boat must meet all the legally established requirements. All boats under 12 meters length with the CE Brand (Specification Compliant) can be registered.
It is compulsory for the boat to have the CE identification proven by a document issued by an independent body that certifies the branding, and that the manufacturer has informed the Spanish Maritime Registry of the craft’s characteristics by means of the Declaration of Conformity or Recreational Craft Document.
The main difference between registering and getting the registry plates is in the range of sailing that you can do.
Registering doesn’t require the payment of a stamp which makes the operation cheaper however, the inconvenient is that you won’t be able to sail outside of the Spanish jurisdictional waters, which is the band of sea between the coastline and the parallel line 6 nautical miles offshore.
The boat’s plate consists of a coded number which identifies it with the Spanish Registry of Ships. This step is compulsory if the boat is going to be sailing in international waters and other countries.
It is compulsory to license all crafts above 2,5 meters length, provided they are not “beach artefacts”.
A recreational boat can be licensed in two of the 9 possible lists
- List 6: boats destined to commercial exploitation.
- List 7: recreational, leisure or sports fishing boats.
The boats in List 6 can only sail when justified by a contract. These boats are dedicated to rental (with or without a skipper) or for training purposes through sailing schools.
Regarding the name of the boat, the process is different depending on whether it is a recreational craft or a merchant ship. In any case, the owner must provide three names in order of preference, without any accents and written in block capitals. The granting of a name is compulsory in the case of a licensed registration and is subject to payment of the corresponding taxes.
In the case of a boat holding a Sailing Certificate previous to 2005 and it comes from a previous owner, it will be necessary to get a new Certificate and pay the corresponding taxes.
Jet skis and their like must also be licensed, as opposed to registered, in the Registry of Ships. The procedure is similar, although with some differences in the requirements of documents, whereby the owners’ ID and the vehicle’s documentation is required.
The granting of the flag for a ship consists in giving it the administrative permssion for the right and duty to fly the Spanish flag. The flag bearing is restricted to boats of over 24 meters in length, which would be ships according to the conceptual distinction between a boat, a craft and a ship.
Newly built ships made in Spain must be registered under List 9 from the moment the hull hits the water. After this, the administrative procedure grants it a different list. Also at this time, it will be given a permanent license number.
Recreational boats and crafts that have been registered in a foreign country must be licensed in Spain following the import procedure.
Pellicer & Heredia offers a Service of marine advice and can help you with the purchase of your boat or to license in Spain with the Administration.
Pellicer & Heredia Lawyers
Legal services in England from Spain