In SLF we process the change of flag for recreational boats under the Dutch flag (International Navigation License – ICP), since the Netherlands has less restrictive legislation regarding:
– Taxes: in Holland there are no flag taxes or annual costs.
– Periodic inspections (ITB in Spain): Dutch legislation does not require any type of inspection for boats for personal use, the state of navigation of the boat depends on the owner who is responsible for its proper maintenance.
– Mandatory safety equipment: the required equipment is limited to the minimum, it is understood that the boat’s master must be responsible and equip his boat according to the navigation program he intends to do, and its expiration depends on the expiration date sets by the manufacturer. In addition, the raft is not necessary in the safety equipment, regardless of the navigation zone.
– Navigation limits: there is no limitation by zones, but the limit is determined only by the construction category of the boat (A, B, C or D).
– Navigation titles: it is necessary to have a navigation title to navigate the sea, if your boat can sail above 20 km/hour (10.8 knots) or if the length exceeds 15 meters. Regardless of your title, you will not be limited in navigation distances.
– Boat insurance: practically all insurance companies accept the change of flag without major inconvenience, obviously the flag change should be communicated to your current insurance company, and send them the corresponding documentation so that, on return of mail, they’ll send the new policy. If they refuse, we can point out the companies with which we usually collaborate.
According to current legislation, residents in Spain must have Spanish qualifications or their country of origin qualifications in order to be able to govern a pleasure craft in Spanish waters under the flag of any European country with the only requirement to have settled the Special Tax on Certain Mean of Transpor (IEDMT or Registration Tax).
The flag process takes approximately ten days, the Netherlands does not require the cancellation from the Spanish Registry, but when the cancellation is attached to the form the fakg is cheanged with a faster processing. The cancellation process from the Spanish Regitry may take two or three weeks until it’s effective. Until the release of the Maritime Register is received, the ship is still Spanish and must sail with the national flag. The administration will also terminate the Spanish MMSI (maritime mobile service identification number), with which the shipowner agrees to deprogram it, but it is not necessary to present any official certificate. With regard to the tax aspect, if you are resident in Spain you have to pay the corresponding VAT and also the Patrimony Transmission Tax that depends on the Autonomous Community where you reside and may vary. The Netherlands issues an International Navigation License (ICP) which contains the data of the ship and the owner, but the base port will always be ‘Nederlands’ or a Dutch port. The boat must be labeled in the stern with the name and the base port, but it is not necessary to label the license number or registration number, but the flag and courtesy flag must always be displayed. Holland renews its flags every two years, it is possible that you receive a communication by mail with the renewal notice, however it is preferable to be aware and to contact the corresponding issuing agency or agent. It is advisable to carry on board the documents of the cancellation from the Spanish Registry and the receipts of payment of taxes, as well as the ICP and the model of receipt of residues MARPOL, the policy of insurance and the receipt in force.