Competitiveness is improving

Some provisions have been issued to improve the competitiveness of pleasure boating in Italy

by Federico Santini*

Thanks to the activity carried out by Confindustria Nautica, the Italian association that brings together yacht builders and operators, and the discussions with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, a number of provisions have recently been issued to improve Italian competitiveness compared to the standards applied by other European registers.

The first of these provisions procedure for registering yachts for the first time, and is aimed at drastically reducing registration times, considering that the long registration time has always been a competitive obstacle for both foreign and Italian yacht owners to opt for the Italian flag. The Head of Department of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) officially wrote to the competent offices of the UCON (Central Conservatory Office of pleasure craft) note No. 0013801 dated 8 May 2023, which instructed the offices to ensure that the first registration, whether definitive or provisional, be processed within 7 days from the date of submission of the complete documentation. If this provision is effectively applied in practice, the times for issuing the navigation license would certainly be comparable, if not faster, to those of European competitors (Malta, France, Spain, Poland).

The Head of the Department of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transport has officially written to the Central Registrar’s Office of pleasure craft to give instructions so that the first registration practices are processed within 7 days from the date of submission of the complete documentation.

Another important measure concerns the leasing and hire of boats, i.e. pleasure craft of less than 10 meters in length, and jet skis which, as known, are not subject to compulsory registration in Italy the commercial use of which, due to the characteristics of the Italian coasts and islands, represents a flourishing business sector. The requirements, formalities and obligations to be fulfilled for the exercise of leasing and charter of small boats and jet skis are currently governed by the Decree of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport of 1 September 2021 (published in the Official Gazette, General Series No. 11 of 15 January 2022). With the Decree of 6 April 2023 (published in the Official Gazette, General Series, No. 106 of 8 May-2023) the Ministry corrected the relative discipline in some relevant respects.

The Ministry has removed the obligation to enclose a copy of the type-approval certificate or the EC declaration of conformity to the
Start of Business Notice for the leasing and rental of boats.

Firstly, the amendment to Article 2, paragraph 2 removed the obligation to provide a copy of type-approval certificate or the EC declaration of conformity for boats to be attached to the Start of Business Notice, if the boats do not have this document. This amendment serves to overcome the difficulties in using all boats, such as historical fishing and speed boats, built and placed on the market before the adoption of the CE certification. Secondly, with the amendment to Article 7, paragraph 1, it removed the ban on water-skiing for leased boats, effectively making charter more attractive for consumers and more profitable for operators. Thirdly, by amending annex 2, letter f), it reduced the area where an 8-knot applies from “5,000 meters from the coastline” to “500 meters from high sea cliffs and 1,000 meters from the beaches”. The previous limit, which was impossible to enforce, would have been completely incompatible with the practice of water skiing. These measures are not only useful but also important, as they are a sign of the current government’s increased attention to pleasure boating and the needs of its operators. Hopefully they will continue along these lines.

(Competitiveness is improving – – July 2023)