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Old 27-02-2023, 17:33   #1
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How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

I'm seriuosly considering if it's viable to turn my sailing passion into a job and I have about a thousands different questions to help me narrow down my options. I'm hoping someone here can help answer some of these or point me in the right direction.

Me: EU/US citizen currently residing outside the EU but planning to move to Spain, with RYA day skipper and ASA (104, 114) and enough experience and sea time to take the RYA Yatchmaster offshore.

Goal: be able to legally skipper (the typical week long charter or sunset cruise) and teach sailing courses in Barcelona Spain, ideally on my own sailboat that I would also like to use for personal trips.

1) Certifications: should I go for the RYA Yatchmaster offshore commercially endorsed or for the Spanish equivalent (PPER)?

2) Boat: if I had to register a boat for pleasure in the EU I'd flag it in Poland nowadays, where is the best (lowest amount of bureaucracy and costs) country to flag to operate commercially in Spain?

3) Any ideas of additional costs to operate a boat commercially vs. just for pleasure in Spain?
- Insurance and boat registration will be more expensive, but I have no idea how much more.
- Local fees and taxes to operate commercially vs. simply dock a pleasure boat, again no idea how much these could be.
- Other things I'm not thinking?

4) Is at all possible to use a boat both for business and personal use? If so, what are the gotchas?

5) Boat purchase and company set up with my own boat are too complex for an online forum, any advise on who I could contact/hire to help me with this?

I know this post is a long shot, but I'm hopeful someone here is knowledgeable enough and has the time to point me in the right direction!
Thanks!!
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Old 28-02-2023, 16:36   #2
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

There was another thread along these lines a while back, but it seems to have gotten buried or perhaps was on a different site. One of the issues that came up was that the standards and requirements for the vessel itself were extremely involved and expensive, beyond the licensing and certifications for the captain and/or crew.
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Old 28-02-2023, 16:44   #3
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

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Originally Posted by psk125 View Post
There was another thread along these lines a while back, but it seems to have gotten buried or perhaps was on a different site. One of the issues that came up was that the standards and requirements for the vessel itself were extremely involved and expensive, beyond the licensing and certifications for the captain and/or crew.
I have the same high level information, that's why I was asking if anyone has any indication about which country it's more convenient to register a commercial boat in.
If it's anything like a personal boat, country of registration can make operating costs drastically different, and there might also be limitations on which country a boat can be registered to operate legally in another country...so many questions
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Old 01-03-2023, 06:47   #4
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

An interesting question indeed, and one that is often asked by people with many dreams but little experience :-)

I think you need to build a business plan for each location where you might wish to operate. You are indicating that you would like to be in Spain, so build your plan with specific reference to Spain. You need to consider many, many things that are NOT directly associated with the ownership, operation and maintenance of the boat, such as tax reporting requirements, form of organization of the business, competition in the local market, "merchandising" i.e., the capture of customers via advertising etc. You should also consider carefully what obstacles may be put in your way by businesses already established in the location where you wish to operate. This is a serious consideration since businesses already established there are not likely to take kindly to a new boy on the block!

Questions pertaining to the boat and to your own licence-status will be the least of it and they therefore must be deferred until the very end of the development of the business plan!

When you've developed a business plan germane to Spain, you can go through the whole rigamarole again pertaining to each other country where you might consider conducting business.

Bonne chance!

TrentePieds
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Old 01-03-2023, 07:15   #5
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

FYI:

Useful reference link: https://navemagna.com/spanish-charter-license/#:~:text=The%20process%20of%20obtaining%20of%20the %20charter%20license,documents%20to%20the%20main%2 0Captaincy%20of%20the%20province.

Bon voyages.
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Old 01-03-2023, 08:09   #6
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Questions pertaining to the boat and to your own licence-status will be the least of it and they therefore must be deferred until the very end of the development of the business plan!
I'm very familiar with all the aspects of a business plan, but without some knowledge of the requirements to operate it's useless as I lack all the proper inputs.
I have no idea about the fixed costs of having a commercial boat, is it 10k or 50k per year, and the bureaucratic hoops I'd have to go through to make it happen.

It seems that the few people who know the answer to this question don't want to share...maybe that's a good indication that it'd be a profitable business and the few who know it don't want a new guy on the block
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Old 01-03-2023, 19:34   #7
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Itnem sez: "I have no idea about the fixed costs of having a commercial boat, is it 10k or 50k per year, and the bureaucratic hoops I'd have to go through to make it happen.
"

Obviously it depends on the boat! As far as OpCosts go, just take a WAG. But for a 30-foot very modest, very inexpensive sailboat on the west coast of Canada, count on $1K/month over the long haul, as indeed I do. As you go up in size cost will increase approximately as (increase in length)^3 (because displacement and complexity increases thusly). If you want shiny brass, polished mahogany and all the latest electronic toys and doodads to wow the customers with, add something more. Fancy cooking and good booze is on top of that :-)!

But you knew that already, didn't you :-)?

Laying a boat budget is an absolutely straight-forward exercise, if you know anything about boats. 2nd year business course stuff where I come from. If you don't know anything about boats, go charter one for two weeks before you commit to ownership. As I said: Get all your other bits in place before you do that. Just start with an assumed OpCost of $100K per annum. As your plan develops, modify it in step with real, tested figures emerging.

All the best!

TP
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Old 01-03-2023, 22:13   #8
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Quote:
But you knew that already, didn't you :-)?
TP
I do :-) that question has been asked and answered a million times and it's not what I'm trying to understand.

What I can't figure out is how much more is needed for the upkeep of a commercial boat, vs the same boat used for pleasure.
I'd guess insurance will be higher, more safety equipment needed, periodic inspections not needed for personal use, different registration and fees, marina might charge more, etc. and on top of that there are the easier to know business expenses.
All this can increase the operating cost dramatically and without these information is impossible to formulate a proper business plan.

Opcost $100k per annum?!?!?! certainly not for a ~40-50ft sailboat in Europe...even with 100% utilization (which is nonsense in this business) you wouldn't breakeven.

All the best to you!
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Old 01-03-2023, 22:18   #9
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montanan View Post
FYI:

Useful reference link: https://navemagna.com/spanish-charter-license/#:~:text=The%20process%20of%20obtaining%20of%20the %20charter%20license,documents%20to%20the%20main%2 0Captaincy%20of%20the%20province.

Bon voyages.
this is awesome, exactly the type of information I'm looking for to get closer to the answers I'm looking for, thanks so much!!
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Old 02-03-2023, 05:55   #10
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pirate Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Re qualifications.. I would go for the RYA Coastal/Offshore Skipper ticket then use it to get the Spanish Blue Book, for this you will need to employ a lawyer to jump through the various hoops however it opens the door to legally operating a Watercraft commercially in Spain.
As for the business, it would be best if you follow the path many ex pats have followed and register it in Spain if that is your intended base of operations.. Once again, a good marine lawyer is advised to guide you through the many pitfalls that can bring you down, Spanish law is kinda tricky as many have found to their cost over the years.
I worked for a Brit owned Spanish registered business based in Fuengirola back in the 90's and got my Blue Book with my RYA ticket..

Just my 0.00000001 centime..
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Old 02-03-2023, 08:56   #11
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Since Montanan was kind enuff to point to Nave Magna I thot this might be interesting.

https://navemagna.com/

These people are certainly not in my league :-)!

TP
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Old 05-03-2024, 08:54   #12
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

Good evening. It was very very interesting to read your post because my boyfriend and I feel EXACTLY like you right now. I mean it is now already a long time ago that you've written that but maybe we could still get in contact with each other. I would really appreciate it if we could talk together and exchange informations . As you below once said we also have the feeling that it is very very difficult to find informations or informations cost a lot and everyone wants to make something out of it. Also we have the feeling that all the people say different things (insurance, registration places etc.) It always sounds easy, especially when you for example talk to polish registrations but when you get closer to it and what all needs to be done next to the commercial registration it's just so immense and also so frustrating. You also wrote that a lot of people who managed don't want to share it because they are afraid when more people do it. I find it actually quite sad because I'm a person myself always trying to help and give my knowledge together (maybe because I'm a teacher haha). So anyway, it would be great if we could chat with each other!
We also want to commercially take some people along while traveling in Europe/med. We are swiss/dutch.
My number is: +41 78 300 32 92
Cheer, Seraina and Jeroen

Quote:
Originally Posted by itnem80 View Post
I'm seriuosly considering if it's viable to turn my sailing passion into a job and I have about a thousands different questions to help me narrow down my options. I'm hoping someone here can help answer some of these or point me in the right direction.

Me: EU/US citizen currently residing outside the EU but planning to move to Spain, with RYA day skipper and ASA (104, 114) and enough experience and sea time to take the RYA Yatchmaster offshore.

Goal: be able to legally skipper (the typical week long charter or sunset cruise) and teach sailing courses in Barcelona Spain, ideally on my own sailboat that I would also like to use for personal trips.

1) Certifications: should I go for the RYA Yatchmaster offshore commercially endorsed or for the Spanish equivalent (PPER)?

2) Boat: if I had to register a boat for pleasure in the EU I'd flag it in Poland nowadays, where is the best (lowest amount of bureaucracy and costs) country to flag to operate commercially in Spain?

3) Any ideas of additional costs to operate a boat commercially vs. just for pleasure in Spain?
- Insurance and boat registration will be more expensive, but I have no idea how much more.
- Local fees and taxes to operate commercially vs. simply dock a pleasure boat, again no idea how much these could be.
- Other things I'm not thinking?

4) Is at all possible to use a boat both for business and personal use? If so, what are the gotchas?

5) Boat purchase and company set up with my own boat are too complex for an online forum, any advise on who I could contact/hire to help me with this?

I know this post is a long shot, but I'm hopeful someone here is knowledgeable enough and has the time to point me in the right direction!
Thanks!!
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Old 05-03-2024, 11:36   #13
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Re: How to operate commercially legally in EU (Spain)?

https://www.boatinternational.com/ya...-in-spain--517

Step 1: Prove your identity
To start with, owners (whether companies or individuals) must be able to demonstrate their existence and identity.

For individuals, their original passport (or a notarised copy) will be required, while companies will need to produce the original, or notarised copy, of their articles of association.

Step 2: Prove you can charter a yacht
Owners must be able to show that they have the capacity to charter out their yacht. This is obviously not a problem for individual owners, but for companies, their articles of association will have to show their power to charter out the vessel.

If someone else is obtaining the licence on the owner’s behalf, a notarised power of attorney must be prepared by or for the owner, empowering the owner’s representative in Spain to undertake all such actions as are necessary to obtain the charter licence.

Step 3: Register as a Spanish taxpayer
An owner must be made accountable for tax in Spain by registering as a taxpayer there. Alternatively, it is possible to lease the yacht to a charter management company that is tax-registered in Spain, although the company will then become liable for any unpaid taxes in Spain relating to the yacht, such as any unpaid VAT. A bank guarantee could be used to cover such liabilities, however.

Step 4: Prove ownership and commercial registration
An owner must then be able to demonstrate ownership of the yacht, as well as showing that it is registered for commercial use and is therefore in compliance with the flag state’s safety laws applicable to commercial operation. So an original or notarised copy of the yacht’s certificate of (commercial) registry must be produced.

Step 5: Show compliance with safety codes
Next, an owner must show the flag state safety code with which the yacht complies. For example, one of the UK’s Large Yacht Codes (hard copies are available from the Marine & Coastguard Agency).

For crewed yachts, an original crew list is also required, stamped by the flag state authority.

Step 6: Yacht survey and compliance check
While the Spanish authorities respect the EU-wide safety measures for yachts over 24 metres LOA, those relating to yachts under this length tend to be less stringent, so a smaller yacht must be surveyed to ensure Spanish compliance and any required measures carried out.

The original survey report indicating compliance with the relevant Spanish safety regulations is then added to the pile of documents.

Step 7: Supply original insurance certificates
Finally, original insurance certificates are required from underwriters, stating that a yacht is covered for third parties liabilities pursuant to Royal Decree 607/1999, and liabilities to passengers (and crew if applicable) as required by Royal Decree 1575/1989.

Once official, certified translations of all non-Spanish documents are prepared, after which the licence can be issued by the local Maritime Authority. This will usually last for three months but can be easily renewed.

Only EU-flagged yachts may be chartered in Spain. For the purpose of obtaining a charter licence, it seems that the Spanish authorities are prepared to consider the Isle of Man as part of UK, but this does not apply to other British flag states.

A yacht on charter may not carry more than 12 people, excluding the crew.

----------------

This was not that hard to Google.
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