New Yachting Legislation is Clearly Working in Spain


Over a year since all charter yachts operating Spain, irrespective of size, could claim exemption from the infamous matriculation tax, and several months since non-EU-flagged superyachts have been allowed to charter within Balearic waters brokers in Spain are beginning to see the change

The worldwide yachting association, MYBA, estimated that in 2011 there were around 802 large yachts chartering in the Mediterranean of which only 17 were available in Spain.

This figure has been increased by 200%, bringing clients with high purchasing power to the Islands.

From none in 2013, the locally based Network Marine Consultants administered no less than 33 superyacht charter licences in 2014. Taking renewals out of the equation, these brand new licences were for 25 motor yachts, 4 sailing yachts and 4 catamarans.

Official figures from Spanish marine trade association, ANEN, back these findings. In its 2014 review, the body stated that Spain’s recreational yachting market grew almost ten per cent after six years of decline. Director of ANEN, Carlos Sanlorenzo, believes the market has stabilized post-crisis and attributes much of the growth to the removal of the 15-metre ceiling for charter yachts claiming exemption from matriculation tax.

ANEN found the greatest increase in yacht registrations happened in the higher LOAs, with the 16-metre-plus market (52-foot) growing by 48.2% in 2014. Taking into account just charter boat registrations of 16-metre-plus, this figure jumps higher to 157.14% year-on-year. The Balearics still dominate Spain’s recreational yachting market taking 14.78% of boat registrations in 2014 nudging Barcelona into second place with 10.75%.

Patricia Bullock, Director of Network Marine Consultants founded some 32 years ago, comments, “2014 was a year to remember, giant steps were taken and the brakes came off Spain’s yachting sector. We are now open for fair and commercially-viable business and the industry has started to flourish. Right now we are busier than ever with plenty of boats going through the process of obtaining their first licence for charter in the Balearic Islands, many of them superyacht sized. Word is spreading, trust is being earned, and we should see a busy summer charter season.”

Spain stands to hugely benefit from MLC-compliant, eco-friendly, tax-legal, efficiently-run enterprises operating in its waters. Yachts generate employment and economic prosperity to the tune of an estimated five million US dollars spent each year by a 50-metre yacht.