Sailing in Spain can be an unforgettable experience, whether you’re a sailing fan or it’s the first time you go for boat rental in Spain. The Mediterranean waters have good but soft currents and winds are usually favorable for sailing during the year. Although the best time to sail, takes place between the months of May to September, sailing is very popular in Spain and is being practiced throughout the year.

All Spanish sailing destinations offer large ports and good facilities, in order to make sailors feel comfortable. The yacht clubs and sailing schools in Spain have international prestige and require their students to pass a written and practical sailing exam, depending on the license they want to go for. If you want to sail without skipper in Spain, you have to take into consideration the different licenses and their requirements, depending on the type of boat you want to rent.

We recommend you read this article, get more information, check your license, and chose your boat and your vacation destination. We offer you to rent a boat in Spain, in places such: Denia, Altea, Barcelona, Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Malaga, Tenerife, Galicia or the coast of Alicante.


Sailing boat in a cove

Sailing boat in a cove

Basic Law Terms

The nautical legislation in Spain is guided by the Order of 26 October 2007 and it would be useful to check your sailing license before renting a boat in Spain. It is always necessary to have a boating license in the country although we know that in some European Union countries, sailing licenses are not always mandatory for some boat types.

What conditions are required in Spain?

The titles covered by this order enabled exclusive yachts and sea scooters/watercrafts used exclusively for leisure activities. In Spain being 18 years old or 16 with a parental authorization is also necessary in order to pass a sailing exam

If you want to get a sailing license in Spain you also need: a medical check-up, pass the test/written exam, radio communication practices, safety practice, a minimum of sailing hours depending on the title you want to get and of course, the official practical navigation exam.

International Licenses

Most of the International Sailing Licenses in the EU and other countries are valid in Spain but it also depends on the boat lenght. Please check your sailing title before renting a boat in Spain without Skipper.

Here you have a list of the minimum sailing licence you need to have:

  • BOAT LEADER´S (Croatia),
  • COASTAL SKIPPER or any of the RYA (UK),
  • PATRAO LOCAL (Portugal),
  • ASA 104 or Sailing bareboat cruising (US).

What official exemptions are there?

Referred to the Article 11 of the Order:

For official motor boats with a maximum power of 11.03 KW and up to 4 meters length, sailing boats up to 5 meters length and other similar floating artifacts for leisure activities such as airbeds, kayaks, surfboards etc., it is not necessary to be in possession of the qualifications listed in Article 6. However, it may not exceed in any time the limitations regarded in skipper licenses for basic navigation.

Bavaria Cruiser 55.

Bavaria Cruiser 55.

Documents and titles

Referred to in Article 20, the administrative authorities responsible for issuing the documents and licenses will have a registration of them that allows other authorities to ask for those documents if necessary and legal. This cooperation is necessary between countries and public administrations in order to keep a general sailing regulation system.

Period of validity

  • The titles do not expire.
  • The cards will have a validity period of 10 years. *See renewal requirements if necessary.

Foreign Sailing Licenses

According to the General Management of Merchant Marine in Spain:

All official sailing licenses within the European Economic Area are valid. They can be issued in the country of origin or in another one but every license should be showed with the skipper ID. Of course sailing licenses should be equal to sailing conditions in Spain, which refers to boat types and sailing distances.

Sailing Licenses and nautical programs

There are several nautical/sailing licenses valid in Spain, depending on the boat model, length and distance requirements. All navigation licenses in Spain require passing a theory test with different questions and a practical exam, plus a minimum of sailing hours, which increases depending on the title you want to obtain. Radio-communication practices are also required in order to pass the exam. These practices can vary from2-8 hours. It is true that you need to attend sailing lessons in a Sailing School but theory can be done with books, tests and with multimedia courses.

Here we explain the different licenses and conditions in Spain

  • Skipper for Basic Navigation: The minimum age is 16 years. Valid for Sailing boats up to 8m length, Motorboats up to 7,5m length and water scooters. The navigation distance from the coast can be maximum 5 miles. Basic safety practices: 12h or practical exam.
  • Yacht Skipper: The minimum age is 16 years. Valid for sailing boats up to 12m length and water scooters. The maximum sailing distance is 12 miles. Basic safety practice : 16h or practical exam.
  • Yacht Captain: the minimum age is 18 years. Valid for boats up to 20m length and water scooters. Maximum sailing distance is: 60 miles. Basic safety practices: 24h or practical exam.
  • Yacht Captain : Minimum age is 18 years. Yacht length and navigation distance are unlimited. Valid also for water scooters. Basic safety practices: 48h or official practical examination.

Sailing License only for sailing boats

To obtain a special license, it is necessary:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Having one of the previously cited sailing licenses (except Basic Navigation)
  • 20h additional saling practice.
Cabin Motorboat

Cabin Motorboat