Thursday, November 21, 2013

The start of the legislative process to update the nautical qualifications

The DGMM has recently forwarded to the concerned parties the text with a proposal for the future Ministerial Order that will regulate the qualifications to navigate recreational vessels. From now on, and once any possible allegations has been collected, the project will continue the legal process until it´s entry into force.

For Carlos Sanlorenzo, the general secretary of  ANEN, “updating  and specifying the designations of our nautical qualifications has been a pending issue since the constitution of ANEN. We were light years behind the European legislation that controls this area of the nautical sector, a factor that has slowed down the progress of the sector. We made DGMM aware of this, and they listened to us. It is a positive result after a huge effort and a lot of work together, which is now entering in the final stages of the legislative process”.

“ From the very first meetings between the DGMM team and ANEN, since my appoitment as the general secretary, it was clear that this was one of the measures required for the recreational yachting to continue developing as a sector, and to contribute to the improvement of other sectors, like the tourism to which it is very closely linked. With this in mind we´ll continue developing the new normative”, assures the director general of the Merchant Navy, Rafael Rodriguez Valero.

The improvements in the concession of certain recereational nautical qualifications, the speeding up of the administrative proceedings, the extensión of the validity of the licenses, the updating of the studied contents and the authorization for the sea schools and yachting federations to examine and issue basic nautical qualifications as well as Navigation Certificates (previously called “titulín”) are, in general lines, some of the changes introduced in the future Ministerial Order.

Looking at all these areas separately, the Ministerial Order includes the following modifications and attributions:

- It will be permitted to navigate without a license during daytime but without venturing further than 5 miles away from a safe port or anchorage (currently only in areas defined by the harbour authority) for motor boats with a maximum power of 11,03 KW (15 CV) and up to 4 meters of length, or 5 meters when it comes to sailing boats.

- The concept of Federation Authority will be substituted by the Navigation Certificate which will allow the control boats up to 6 m, taking into account the manufacturers recommendations for the power of the motor, and up to 5 miles from the coast.
This Certificate can be issued by those sailing and motorboat federations, as well as by the sea schools that meet the requirements stated in the Ministerial Order. 

- PNB (Patrón de Navegación Basica - Skipper of Basic Navigation): the allowed boat length to navigate motor boats with this license is entended to 8 m (currently 7,5 m), and jetskis with power related to their size, up to 5 nautical miles from the coast. Additionally, with a complimentary adsciption (consistent with the sailing practices) it is possible to navigate with sailing boats with the same limitations on the navigation area.

As another novelty, it should be pointed out that both the recreational sailing school as the sailing and motor boat federations can convene, organize and carry out examinations for obtaining this license, without having to wait for official announcement of exams published by the administration.

- PER (Patrón de Embarcación de Recreo - Recreational Yacht Skipper): the validity of this license will be extended to allow the control of recreational motor boats up to 24 m of length (instead of the current 12 m) and navigation up to 12 miles from the coast, as well as navigation between the islands of the Balearics and the Canaries.

With a complimentary attribution, depending on additional practical training completed in a sea school , this license will allow navigation with a sailing boat, as well as navigation with both sailing and motor boats between the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands.

- PATRÓN DE YATE - YACHT SKIPPER: will allow the control of motor boats up to 24 m of length (extending from the current 20 m)  in all of the Mediterranean and up to 100 nautical miles from the towards the Atlantic sea board (instead of the current 60). Additionally, with a complimentary attribution, consistent with practical training on a sailing boat, it is permitted to navigate sailing boats in the above mentioned conditions. 

- CAPITÁN DE YATE – YACHT CAPTAIN:  will allow the control of motor boats without geographical limitations. As above, with a complimentary attribution it is allowed to navigate sailing boats without geographical limitations.

Any of the licenses above (PNB, PER YACHT SKIPPER and YACHT CAPTAIN) will allow the handling of jetskis without the necessity to obtain complimentary validations. 

(Translator´s note: to avoid confusion between the spanish and the english qualifications, which – despite having similarities, also have differences, the terms Day Skipper, Coastal Skipper, Yacht Master etc. are not used in this context).

It is also worth pointing out that  some of the questions that have been thoroughly analysed for their regulation, according to the Ministerial Order  stay as follows:

When it comes to the sea schools, a period of three months is established for the authorized sea schools that don´t yet meet all the requirements insisted in the future Ministerial Order, to comply with the new rules. The sailing and motor boat federations will have to comply with the same requirements as the sea schools.

With respect to attributions for carrying on professional activities that are not covered in the Draft of the Ministerial Order, they will be regulated in a Royal Decree, the processing of which ANEN will push on so it can be published at the same time as the new normative regarding the qualifications.

To solve the problem of Spanish flagged boats changing flags to neigboring countries (specially to the Belgian register), the proposal for the Ministerial Order establishes that any person that is in charge of a foreign flagged recreational vessel, navigating in the Spanish waters, will have to possess a corresponding license. The qualification required should have been issued in the country where the vessel is registered; failing that, in the country of the nationality of the person, or finally a corresponding Spanish license. This resolves all the doubts regarding this legal void.

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