Recently one of our Berthon Spain Guardiennage clients asked us about preparing their boat to comply with MCA regulations in order for yacht charter in Spanish waters – by obtaining a Balearic Charter Yacht Licence.
The yacht in question, a UK flagged Sunseeker Manhattan 55, was already kept to a high standard by her owners. She has been under Berthon Guardiennage care since 2020. The nominated MCA surveyor, chosen by the owners, along with our Guardiennage captain, had to go through the whole boat with a fine-tooth comb and highlight any items that needed attention. From this exercise, a report was compiled with a full 38 points for attention, plus a further 8 points if the boat was intended to be chartered with crew.
As it was with this situation, you may find that there are already many of the listed items onboard for example binoculars, a steering compass, buckets with lanyards, a boat hook, nautical charts, a national flag and a number of the necessary flares.
In this scenario, because of the UK flag, we can refer to regulations set by the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency as guidance for regulations in Spanish waters. The corresponding official legislation from the Spanish government, which became law in 2021, regulating the security equipment and prevention of pollution for recreational vessels, also needed to be consulted.
For the most part, the regulations from the MCA and the Spanish equivalent run along the same lines. There were two differences noted in this example – the EPIRB was a specification of the Spanish rules but was not necessary for the MCA. The other difference being in the details of the horseshoe buoys provided on board. The Spanish regulations only ask for one life ring whereas the MCA require 2 – one with a light, one with a floating line, and both with drogues.
The task of purchasing and fitting the additional equipment was assigned to the guardiennage team to complete on behalf of the owners. The role of the surveyors was to check they were completed to satisfaction. In this instance, a haul out was necessary to change three of the seacocks from plastic to metal. The surveyors did take this opportunity for a visual inspection of the hull, but this would not normally be necessary.
With all the paperwork lodged with the correct authorities, and the license granted, you are then free to welcome paying guests on board your yacht.
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