Different boat licenses in Spain and international validity [Infographic]

boat license in spain
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You want to navigate in Spain but you don't know which license you should have? Here is a recapitulation of each of the boat licenses that you could get in Spain in order to rent a boat or navigate on your own vessel.

Here are 5 types of boat licenses that will empower you to navigate in Spain: Navigation License, Basic Navigation Skipper, Recreational Boat Skipper, Yacht Skipper and Yacht Captain.

The different boat licenses in Spain

The simplest: the navigation license

With the Navigation License, also called Licencia de Navegación, you will be allowed to drive boats up to 6 meters in length and up to 2 miles away from the coast. The navigation is only possible between sunrise and sunset— since the 2 theoretical hours do not cover the topic of night navigation. Following those hours, you will have to take 4 practical hours on the water with a professional skipper of your school.

During an offsite day, all our team got their navigation license with Escola Port Barcelona. Read more about this day on another blog post.

To go a bit further: Basic Navigation Skipper

The Boat Navigation License — Patrón de navigación básica — allows you to drive boats up to 8 meters in length and up to 5 miles away from the coast. Another important step with this license: you will be able to navigate all day long, including night-time.

Unlike the previous license, you will have to pass an exam before going on the water by yourself. You will also need the basic safety and navigation practices as well as a theoretical and practical demonstration of radio-communications.

The most wanted: Recreational Boat Skipper

By being the most complete license, since it doesn't require another license to obtain it, the Recreation Boat License — known as Patrón de Embarcaciones de Recreo (PER) — is very popular. If you obtain this license, you will be able to drive boats up to 15 meters in length. The navigation zone will be extended at 12 miles away from the coast and — you will be empowered to go between islands within the Balearic and Canarian archipelago.

In order to get your recreational boat skipper, you will have to take a multiple-choice type exam, a 16-hour basic safety and navigation practices and a practical and theoretical course of short range radio operator which will take around 12 hours.

To get more freedom: Yacht Skipper

The Yacht License certification levels up your navigation experience. You will be allowed to sail up to 150 miles away from the coast on boats up to 24 meters in length.

To get this license, you would need to have your title of Recreational Boat Skipper already. Also, a theoretical exam must be succeeded as well as high-altitude sailing practices which consist of a 48-hour cruise on a school ship.

The most impressive: Yacht Captain

As an extension of the the Yacht License license, the Captain certification removes all length and navigation limits. It's the most complete non-professional license you can get. To become Captain, you will need your title of Yacht Skipper, another theoretical exam and a 48-hour navigation practice. 

The different boat licenses in an infographic

Infographic_DifferentBoatLicensesInSpain (1)

Where to use your Spanish boat license

When it comes to using a certain boat license around the world, many questions occur. The general rule is the following: most countries recognize the license of the skipper's nationality. For instance, if you're Spanish, navigating on a Spanish vessel, most countries will recognize and accept your Spanish boat license as long as you comply with the rules of the country where you're navigating.

If you want to rent a boat in a country that is not yours, you might need some other documents. The best to do is to search on Google the legislation in that specific country. Some international certifications exist — like the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) — but are not necessarily valid in every country around the world. This certificate confirms your ability to navigate with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Inland Water Committee Resolution 40's requirements. Nevertheless, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the US — among others — don't appear on the list of countries accepting the ICC. Though international legislation is not clear, it is important to have a look before going on foreign waters. Some countries, like the UK or some states in the US, don't even ask for any license to drive a recreational boat below a specific length.

Time to find your perfect boat!

A boat without captain cannot remain long on the surface!  - Mehmet Murat Ildan

Now that you know everything about getting your boat license in Spain, it's time for you to be the captain of your own boat. Discover on boatim.com a large selection of boats available all around the world. 

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