Non-EU flagged boats are now allowed to offer charter services in the Balearics, thanks to a new regulation effective since early September. Until now, these vessels were only permitted to sail around the Balearics.

Companies in the charter sector have welcomed the news, and it’s estimated the fleet is likely to expand particularly towards 20m yachts, as these craft provide greater income.

“Although applicable to boats 14m (45ft) upwards, this legislation is clearly targeted at superyachts, the sector most likely to be non-EU-flagged, and has some interesting terms and conditions,” comments Lorenzo Vila, director of Port Andratx-based easyboats. “It states that a charter licence can be obtained provided there is a lack of available EU-flagged with similar characteristics. One would assume this is easily circumnavigated by bringing hull colour, interior décor, tenders and toys, and so on into the equation,” he adds.

Vila notes that the new ruling also states that the yacht must comply with technical, legal, administrative and fiscal requirements. “Fiscal is the key word here, the superyacht would have to have its taxes paid in-line with Spanish requirements. I believe the legislation is only good news, and economically viable for boats that are based themselves in the Balearics for a full season, not for those who want to dip in and out. It certainly won’t make a great deal of difference to the pool of charter yachts available to easyboats,” he explains.

The changes coincide with the release of the latest Spanish boat registration figures from ANEN, the national marine trade association. Overall there has been a 13.27% increase in boat registrations in the eight months to August in comparison to the same period in 2013.