Sailing and Boating in Malta

Information about boat licences and sailing permits in Malta, including details of sailing associations and marinas...

Malta's location in the southern Mediterranean, combined with great weather, excellent port facilities and maritime services, a long heritage of maritime tradition and good connections with Europe and Northern Africa, make it an ideal location for yachting and sailing activities.

All maritime activities in the seas around Malta and management of the port facilities are regulated by the Ports and Yachting Directorate and Transport Malta.

Safety and Emergencies at Sea

In an emergency contact:

  • 112 by telephone
  • Channel 16 on VHF Radio

Useful contacts

  • Valletta Port Control
    Tel: 2291 4491 / 2291 4492
  • Rescue Air Force Malta
    Tel: 2180 9279
  • Valletta Port Control
    Radio Channel 12
  • Marsaxlokk Port Control
    Radio Channel 14
  • Malta Vessel Traffic Service
    Radio Channel 69
  • Navigational warnings and weather broadcasts
    Radio Channel 11
  • Find more information about maritime safety (PDF)

Sailing Permits and Licences

A Nautical Licence is required for persons operating a vessel with power of over 30hp.

Certification for a basic first aid and a basic practical and theory course on seamanship is required before taking a further examination. The examination for obtaining a Nautical Licence is usually held at MCAST (Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology).

Once the examination has been passed, documentation is issued that must be submitted along with the application form and two passport photos and identification to the Small Ships Register at Transport Malta for the issue of the Nautical Licence. There is a fee for the Nautical Licence, which is valid for five years.

Although not mandatory, Transport Malta also encourages boat owners with engines powered at under 30hp to take the basic seamanship training and obtain the Nautical Licence. Training course providers will take applicants through all the steps required in order to obtain the licence.

The Nautical Licence is only valid within the territorial waters of Malta. Other licences such as the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) are often accepted as proof of competency in international waters.

Importing and Registering a Boat

EU citizens are not required by law to re-register their vessels under the Maltese flag. They may choose to do so if habitually resident in Malta, but it is not mandatory if VAT has been paid on the vessel in another EU state.

Non-EU citizens and non-EU registered boats are granted tax-free temporary importation for a total of 18 months if the vessel is to then leave European waters. If the vessel does not leave after the permitted time, the boat must be imported and VAT must be paid.

Registration of vessels is conducted through the Land Transport Directorate and according to the Merchant Shipping Act of 1973.

Requirements for craft registration under a Maltese flag often differ on a case-by-case basis. The Transport Directorate provide comprehensive information on how to register a craft along with the associated costs (PDF).

Sailing Events

A full programme of races, regattas and social events are held throughout the year around the islands of Malta. They are primarily organised by the Royal Malta Yacht Club. The club also arranges cruises and operates a sailing school.

Renting Yachts and Boats

There are many private companies offering boat rental in Malta.

For smaller vessels a licence is often not required. However, the driver must be 18 or over and present a valid ID.


Malta has a number of excellent marina facilities: