What do you need to sail without a licence in Spain?

Sailing is one of the most rewarding experiences you can enjoy at sea. In Spain, fortunately, it is possible to sail without a licence in certain circumstances. If you are interested in exploring the crystal clear waters and hidden coves of the Mediterranean without having to obtain a sailing licence, here’s everything you need to know.

1. Types of Boats Allowed

In Spain, you can sail without a licence as long as you use boats that meet the following conditions:

  • Maximum Length**: The boat must have a maximum length of 5 metres if it is a motor boat. If it is a sailing vessel, the length can be up to 6 metres.
  • Engine Power**: Engine power must not exceed 15 horsepower (hp) or 11.2 kilowatts (kW).

These limitations ensure that the boats are easy to handle for inexperienced boaters and do not pose a significant risk at sea.

2. Navigation Zones

Without a licence, vessels must navigate in specific areas:

  • Distance from the Coast: You are not allowed to go further than 2 nautical miles (approximately 3.7 km) from a harbour, marina or place of shelter. This ensures that you are always relatively close to shore in the event of an emergency.
  • Safe Areas**: It is advisable to sail in quiet, well marked areas, away from the routes of large vessels and in favourable weather conditions.

3. Safety Conditions

Even if you don’t need a licence, it is vital that you follow certain safety rules to ensure safe boating:

  • Life Jackets: All passengers must wear a suitable, approved life jacket.
  • Safety Equipment**: Basic safety items such as a first aid kit, flares, and an audible signalling device (such as a horn or whistle) should be on board.
  • Basic Knowledge**: Basic knowledge of navigation and safety at sea is recommended. Many charter companies offer short tutorials before setting sail.

4. Documentation Required

Although a licence is not required, it is important to carry certain documents with you:

  • DNI or Passport: Personal identification to verify your identity in case of inspection.
  • Rental Contract**: If you have rented the boat, always carry a copy of the rental contract.

5. Responsibility and Rules of Coexistence

Boating without a licence does not exempt you from responsibility. It is essential to respect the rules of navigation and coexistence at sea:

  • Respect for the Environment**: Do not throw rubbish into the sea and try to use biodegradable products.
  • Navigation Rules**: Respect maritime signals and restricted areas.
  • Consideration for Other Boaters**: Maintain a safe speed and respect the distance to other vessels to avoid accidents.


Sailing without a licence in Spain is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the sea in a safe and responsible manner. By complying with the regulations and taking the necessary precautions, you can have an unforgettable experience exploring the beautiful Spanish coastline, so get ready to set sail and enjoy the sea in complete freedom!

If you have any questions or need to rent a boat that meets these requirements, do not hesitate to contact us at Seariders. We are here to help you make your maritime adventure a unique and safe experience.

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