Sailing and Boating in Gibraltar

Information on the boat licence and sailing permit requirements in Gibraltar, including details of sailing associations....

With its location at the gateway to the Mediterranean combined with great weather, a long history of maritime tradition, excellent port facilities and maritime services, Gibraltar has become a popular location for yachting and sailing activities.

All maritime activities in the seas around Gibraltar and management of the port facilities are regulated by the Gibraltar Port Authority.

When arriving in Gibraltar clearance is required for all vessels from the Port Authority and HM Customs and Immigration. In marinas, this is handled by the marina operator at the Pier Master's office on behalf of the two government bodies.

Safety information and emergencies at sea

When operating a boat at sea it is important to follow international safety precautions.

The coastguard in Gibraltar operates under the Borders and Coastguard Agency. In an emergency contact:

  • 199 by telephone
  • Channel 16 by VHF Radio

Find up-to-date weather, wind, tide and sea conditions.

Permits and Licences

The International Certificate of Competence is often referred to as the boat licence. Gibraltar has the same requirements for piloting a boat as the UK, but if wishing to leave Gibraltar waters it is advisable to carry the International Certificate of Competence. Vessels can be impounded in other jurisdictions.

Depending on the type of vessel that an individual wishes to pilot, the Royal Yachting Association gives courses and issues International Certificates of Competence for:

  • Coastal
  • Inland
  • Power up to 10 metres
  • Power 10 metres and over
  • Sail
  • Personal watercraft

The most popular is the Powerboat level II licence, which allows legal operation of a vessel up to 10 metres in length with no horse power limit. It is valid in almost all countries around the world and the reverse side provides translations in 13 languages.

Importing and Registering

EU citizens are not required to re-register their vessels to a Gibraltar flag by law. They may choose to do so if habitually resident in Gibraltar but it is not mandatory.

British citizens, citizens of British Dependent Territories, British Overseas citizens or EU/EEA nationals are able to register a vessel in Gibraltar. In addition companies registered within the EU/EEA are also permitted to register a vessel.

Application for registration of a vessel is only available to individuals who are resident, or to companies that have a place of business in Gibraltar. However, registered agents or a representative person can be appointed in order to circumnavigate this hurdle.

Gibraltar is outside the EU's Common Customs Tariff and as a result does not levy VAT. However, on leaving Gibraltar's waters, a vessel is subject to conditions imposed by other countries as to the length of time that it is able to remain without becoming subject to Import Duty as a foreign registered vessel.

For those wishing to register a vessel in Gibraltar, ship registration is conducted through the Gibraltar Maritime Administration (GMA):

Those wishing to register a vessel under a Gibraltar flag benefit from several advantages over registering it in other European countries. Vessels registered in Gibraltar:

  • Fly the Red Ensign flag
  • Can seek assistance from British consulates and embassies around the world
  • Can benefit from Category 1 Red Ensign status with beneficial tax conditions; no VAT, import duty or tax payable on the sale of the vessel
  • The vessel is added to the British Registry (Blue Book) with the advantages that this affords.
  • Find out more about registering a boat

In order for an individual to register a vessel in Gibraltar the following documents and details must be submitted to the GMA:

  • Yacht builder's certificate (if new) or a notarised, signed, original bill of sale (if secondhand)
  • Copy of passport
  • Original or copy of the deletion certificate from the previous registry
  • Results of a Tonnage Measurement Survey (International Tonnage Survey if over 24m in length)
  • Proposed name of the vessel
  • Completed application form
  • Declaration of ownership
  • Emergency contact details
  • Completed application forms for ship station and radio licences
  • Fee

In addition yachts over 24 metres require:

  • Undertaking that the yacht is to be used for pleasure purposes only
  • High quality .jpg photograph of the vessel

The appropriate documents and forms are available online.

Documents for the transfer of ownership are available online.

Sailing Events

Sailing and boating events take place in the seas around Gibraltar throughout the year. More information on events can be obtained from the Royal Gibraltar Yacht Club or on the Government website.

Marinas

There are three privately owned marinas in Gibraltar:

  • Marina Bay: Marina Bay is a fully serviced complex located near to the airport and town area with 209 berths accommodating yachts from 5 metres to 90 metres in length
    Tel: 200 733 00
    Fax: 200 426 56
    Channel 71 by VHF Radio
    email
  • Ocean Village: Adjacent to Marina Bay and part of the luxury Ocean Village resort. Offering 95 berths and a full range of services
    Tel: 200 733 00
    Fax: 200 426 56
    Channel 71 by VHF Radio
  • Queensway Marina: Accommodating yachts up to 75 metres in length with 185 berths available. Fully serviced shore-side with power, water and a telephone on each berth
    Tel: 200 447 00
    Fax: 200 446 99
    Channel 71 by VHF Radio
    email

Training Schools

There are many RYA recognised schools across the territory offering a wide variety of qualifications and training for both powered and sailing vessels such as:

  • STCW
  • RYA Yachtmaster Coastal
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore
  • International Certificate of Competency (ICC)
  • Power boating

Insurance

Although there is currently no law forcing owners to insure their vessels, it is recommended that individuals take out, at the very least, liability insurance. Other European countries enforce the need for insurance and marinas too will often insist that the vessel is covered in order to use their facilities.