Sailing in Spain is a pain. It is true, boat requirements and sailor certifications in Spain are neither sensitive nor sensible. We are going through the issues and tackle them one by one, as they come. The Spanish government, keen on reducing its ballooning debt, invents new regulation every year for boat safety, communication equipment, and things such as toilet requirements and minimal number of buckets. A detailed requirement list can be found in the GUIA AD 2010. Depending on your boat equipment, you are allowed to sail a certain distance from the shore line. The Spanish government has invented 7 different zones, ranging from 0 mile (within harbor or protected waters), 2 mile , 5 mile 12 mile 25 mile 60 mile to unlimited, zona 1. Your boat will be certified, at your cost for one of these zones. Many boats we see are in category (zona) 4, (maximum 12 miles from the shore) and thus not allowed to sail to the Balearic islands (zona 2). Additional cost to get your boat licensed for zona 2 will be well over 4000 euro. Safety equipment such as a life boat needs to be tested yearly, by a Spanish certified institute at your cost. The boat has to go out the water every 5 years, not to document errors in the hull, but to check if the boat meets the theoretical requirements. Boats are registered in 11 different ways, so called “lista” depending the usage of the boat mostly related to tax. Try to get a “lista septima” or “lista 7” boat, that is for individual use no business purpose. It is easy to find out for Spanish registered boats what registration they have. The fist character of the identification number on the hull indicates the “lista” category. You need to be a certified sailor no matter how many miles you have sailed. The best thing is to get an ICC, international certificate of competence, make sure you get a Spanish translation that states your are classified as “capitan de yate”, else you are restricted to sailing again a certain distance from the coast. It is good to know that all this piracy on your wallet applies mainly for the Mediterranean. more to come.