Specific, clear and detailed plans for Spain’s return to boating

The Spanish Government’s transition plan to “a new normality” is divided into four phases (two weeks minimum per phase). The de-escalation and progressing to the next phase will be done by province/island and will be dependent on meeting the set health and social indicators, according to Evolution Yachting.

Most Spanish Ports are open for yachts that meet certain conditions and with prior approval from the relevant authorities. Barcelona, Valencia, Tarragona, Cartagena and other areas in mainland Spain are excellent locations in terms of berth options, port clearances and crew transfers and movement.

The Balearics and Canary Islands ports remain closed for arriving yachts, although authorities are accepting yachts under certain circumstances:

  • Palma Port Authority accept yachts arriving at the shipyards for repairs, as well as vessels with long term reservations at a marina within Mallorca. Each entrance is always subject to approval from the authorities.
  • Canary Islands ports are accepting yachts in cases of Force Majeure/proven necessity, and subject to authorisation from Health and Port Authorities. Each case is reviewed separately.

These ports will remain closed until the end of the State of Emergency that is enforced until the 25th May.

Recreational navigation

Recreational navigation is classified as ‘Active Tourism’ and restrictions will change in the different phases:

  • Phase 1: If everything goes according to plan, this phase will start on 11th May. Recreational navigation will be allowed although there will be geographical and health limitations. Navigation will be limited to reduced groups of people, and always within the same province/island. To be able to embark, owners will need to live in the same municipality where the boat is located.
  • Phase 2: During this phase, a larger amount of people would be able to embark, although geographical sailing limitations will be the same as phase 1. In this phase, owners will need to live in the same province/island as boat location, but not in the same municipality.
  • Phase 3: During this phase, general nautical activities will be completely reactivated, although still with geographical and health limitations that are yet to be confirmed. During phase 3, travelling between provinces/islands won’t be allowed, and sailing will be limited as well to the same island/province where the boat is located.
  • New Normality (after phase 3): No travel restrictions between provinces, and recreational navigation between Spanish provinces and Islands will be permitted again with no geographical limitations within Spanish territory.

Throughout the de-escalation phases, restrictions regarding navigation, and any other local restrictions that may still be in place will be also taken in consideration.

The Port Authority for the Balearic Islands has announced that recreational navigation will not be authorised until the ports open. Once re-opened, recreational navigation would be permitted under the same conditions as in the rest of Spain in accordance with the phased de-escalation schedule.

There is currently a ban on all non-essential travel from non-EU countries to Schengen countries. Entrance into Spain for non-essential purposes is not permitted until 15th May. Entrance is only permitted to Spanish residents or non-residents traveling under specific conditions, such as essential professional activity – this includes seafarers in transit to embark their vessels. For all EU and non-EU crew members, there is the possibility to join their vessel in Spain, justifying that the purpose of their travel is joining a vessel for work by providing the required documentation.

The final decision for entry into Spain will rest with the border control officers or other government authorities and their interpretation about the type of vessel the crew member would be joining, and whether they deem embarkation essential. Check with airlines for any further information they may have in place and if transiting through another country please check for visa or other requirements.

All non-essential travel is currently forbidden which means it’s unlikely an owner from outside the country could visit their yacht. The Schengen member states are due to make an announcement regarding the re-opening of borders before 15th May.

The re-opening of Schengen borders will allow non-EU arrivals for tourism, as well as the reactivation of flights between European countries. This is yet to be defined, and is a decision taken by all the EU countries. Spain wants to re-open the country again to international tourism and will be opening gradually once health conditions and checks are established for tourists and residents.

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