Law & Licences

Sailing and Boating Licences in Spain

Getting a Licence

The título de recreo is applied for and issued either by a school recognised by the Spanish Dirección General de la Marina Mercante or one of the Autonomous Communities. A medical certificate (certificado médico) is needed and the exam includes a series of safety, navigability and boat basic principles tests. The título de recreo is issued once the applicant has passed a theory and practical exam (it varies in length and difficulty depending on the size of vessel). A good level of Spanish is required to take this exam.


Permits Required

A sailing permit or licence (título de recreo) is not needed to sail following vessels during daylight hours in Spanish waters:

  • Motor boats up to 4 meters in length and with a maximum power of 10 Kw (13 CV)
  • Sailing boats up to 5 metres in length
  • Kayaks, canoes and pedal boats and boats with motors of under 3.5 Kw

All other vessels may only be handled by person holding an appropriate licence. Failure to have a licence may result in the vessel being confiscated or a hefty fine.

Although a Yacht Masters certificate (and translation into Spanish) or an ICC (International Certificate of Competence) are considered sufficient proof of competence to skipper a UK (or some other) flagged vessel, the ICC is not a recognised qualification for Spanish flagged vessels. Anyone resident in Spain must have a Spanish recognised qualification, the título de recreo.

Note: this information applies to recreational (not professional skipper) licences only.

Licences categories

Licences fall into the following categories:

  • Patrón de Navegación Básica (PNB) (Basic Navigation Skipper)
    Licence to skipper a sailing yacht maximum 8 metres in length or a motor boat maximum 6 metres (with a motor appropriate to the size) provided the boats stay within 4 miles of the shore
  • Patrón de Embarcaciones de Recreo (PER) (Recreational Vessel’s Skipper)
    Licence to skipper a motor boat up to 12 metres, within 12 miles of shore
  • Patrón de Yate (Yacht Master)
    Licence to skipper a yacht up to 20 metres within 60 miles of land
  • Capitán de Yate (Yacht Captain)
    No limitations
  • Patrón de Moto Náutica (Motor Boat Skipper)
    • Patrón de Moto Náutica C (licence C to skipper boats under 55 CV)
    • Patrón de Moto Náutica B (licence B to skipper boats between 55 CV and 110 CV)
    • Patrón de Moto Náutica A (licence A to skipper boats from 110 CV)




About the author


Norberto Moreau is co-founder of the Allied Management Ltd Consulting Group (Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Spain). The group and his associates have activities in Yachting, Properties, Events and Online Services.
Activity with own Projects (70%) / Consulting (30%).

Norberto Moreau is available for Consulting worldwide at Fairs, Regattas etc.

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