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Yachting after COVID-19

It is difficult to imagine a more healthy and COVID friendly situation than one afternoon sailing from Cabrera to Palma with your boat  – or in a chartered one – surrounded only by the sea, the fresh air- our embat  –  and seagulls.

Since the 8th of June  – the beginning of last Phase 3 of the de-escalation the plans approved by Ministerial Order from 6th of June declare that all yachting, sailing and  recreational nautical activities are allowed, with no limitations other than those that generally apply, such as those of a territorial nature but with an obligatory adoption of preventive sanitary measures. From the 1st of July also foreigners are allowed to visit Spain without resting in quarantine.

However this does not mean that our yachting and sailing activity and its industry will be the same as before March 2020. Like any other aspect of our social and economic life, and also like in any other part of the world  will be different after Coronavirus  and a lot of queries arises.   Nautical activity, either as leisure or sport  or business will have to face for instance new safety and  sanitary  measures to keep owners, crew, users, business and workers healthy. These have been progressively implemented but still need to be definitely developed and fixed.

At an early stage of the COVID-19 lockdown the Direccion General de la Marina Mercante  (Spanish Merchant Marine and Shipping Authority)  established on the 30th of  April a first package of precautionary measures regarding sailing and recreational navigation  for charter, hire or rental services of boats, vessels and floating devices:

  • The interpersonal security distance between employees and users must be maintained at any stage of the service (contracting, delivery, collection, etc.) and the use of masks and gloves in public areas recommended.
  • Electronic and contactless payment should be encouraged.
  • The boat must be previously disinfected before delivery. After use it should also be disinfected and thoroughly cleaned, especially in the areas of greatest contact (knobs, furniture, surfaces, etc.). It is recommended that this cleaning be done after 24 hours of its last use and the cleaning personnel use an special protection.
  • Deliveries must be organized in such a way that they are not delivered or collected by new users at the same time and thus limit the contact of clients of different boats, vessels and floating devices.
  • It is recommended to minimize delivery time by offering explanations of the operation of the boat by mails, if possible.
  • It is recommended to avoid making deliveries at the waiting docks since they are much more crowded places.

On the 6th of May , a protocol for prevention and protection against COVID19 was presented, by the Instituto para la Calidad Turística Española, ICTE (Institute for Spanish Tourist Quality) for the tourism sector, at the request of the Secretary of State for Tourism. The document was  prepared together with the main associations of the nautical sector like CEACNA (Confederación Española de Clubes Náuticos), ANEN (Asociación Nacional de Empresas Náuticas), AEGY (Asociación Española de Grandes Yates), ANAVRE (Asociación de Navegantes de Recreo),, and was defined based on the recommendations established by the Spanish Ministry of Health and other competent health authorities at the regional level.

Ports, marinas and shipyards on their part are trying to adjust their services to this new scenario implementing prevention protocols for COVID-19.

At this point there is still much uncertainty about the concrete measures to be adopted, its efficiency and sanctions and penalties in case of infringements as Laws are changing almost every week and each region has also ruling competences in these areas  – and also local councils in beaches and coastal affairs –  since  the last stage of the de-escalation.

Precaution has to be the main issue That is why would recommend to adopt all preventive sanitary measures in harbour as possible in order to try to keep healthy and enjoy your sailing at sea.

Carlos Espinosa

Solicitor & Tax Adviser

+34 627 41 32 01