On 21 March 2023, Royal Decree 186/2023 was published in the BOE (Official State Gazette), approving the Regulation on the Organisation of Maritime Navigation. One of the most relevant aspects that we want to develop in this article is the introduction of a simplified regime of the “despacho” by means of a responsible declaration for pleasure boats and vessels.
The vast majority of our clients are aware of the need to have the responsible declaration for the charter of pleasure boats and vessels, better known as the charter licence of the Balearic Government, in order to charter their boats. However, many of them are unaware that Article 18 of the Spanish Maritime Navigation Law 14/2014 establishes an obligation to apply to the maritime authorities for the “despacho” of vessels and ships that carry out a commercial activity or have a professional crew.
The application for the “despacho” involves submitting a number of documents to the Capitanía marítima in order to obtain the “despacho”. During the summer period, due to the large number of applications for “despacho”, the granting of authorisation in the Balearic Islands was delayed due to the heavy workload of the maritime authorities. The administrative delay means that many shipowners or boat operators have to cancel scheduled charter trips because they do not have the corresponding “despacho”, if they have not applied for it well in advance.
The good news is that this Royal Decree develops the provisions of Article 18.4 of the Maritime Navigation Law and introduces a simplified “despacho” regime,
by means of a responsible declaration, for recreational vessels and boats, exclusively dedicated to inland water navigation and for all those that make short and high rotation journeys, such as nautical charter companies.
Pursuant to Article 9 of the Royal Decree, express authorisation for “despacho” is only required for the first “despacho” of a vessel or yacht flying a Community flag or that of a third country our of the EU which is to operate under a nautical charter in Spanish maritime areas. From the first application onwards, they will be able to benefit from the simplified regime, only by informing the administration of the renewal of the documents that are updated by means of a new responsible declaration.
when will this new system come into force? This will take place on 1 July 2024.
The aforementioned Royal Decree abolishes a series of ministerial orders of great relevance to date, such as the Order of 4 December 1985 on the chartering of pleasure craft and the Order of 18 January 2000 approving the Regulation on the despacho of Ships, with the exception of the provisions of the second transitional provision relating to the requirement for insurance against the risk of death or accident for persons other than crew and passengers.
The publication of this new regulation is a great step forward in maritime matters and especially for charter companies located in the Balearic Islands. The yacht charter business has been growing and developing in recent years at a vertiginous rate, and our regulations provide for adapting to reality, although it is true that the legislative development is progressing at a slower speed than reality, but the good thing is that progress is being made.