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  1. #1

    Default Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    Does anyone have any experience with owning a boat and living on it in Spain?

    We have been living in Spain now for a few months and the law states that after 183 days in a calendar year you are considered resident for tax purposes. This means that our UK flagged boat would have to be re-flagged as Spanish after paying the 12% tax on the value of the boat and an exam would have to be taken for a 10 meter boat, the course will be in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish then what would you do? The ICC is not accepted for Spanish flagged boats. We sailed our boat from the south of France and have been sailing for about 4 years now with many thousands of miles under our belt and consider ourselves to be quite competent although not experts. Can a Day Skipper qualification be converted to a Spanish qualification? We have heard that only the Yatchmaster qualification can be converted. Any ideas anyone?

    Many thanks


  2. #2
    Paw Paw's Avatar
    Paw Paw is offline Registered User
    Location : Me Ronda, Spain - Paw Paw Gibraltar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    unless you put down 'roots' and just stay in one port you will not have a problem.

    You can always claim you have visited Gibraltar or Morocco every so often or that you fly back to the UK sometimes. That way the clock stops clicking and anyway the Spanish are really not interested unless you really want to become a resident.
    Pacific Crossing Guide & Caribbean Cruising Guide

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    I arrived in la Coruña, Spain, in may 1994 and left a couple of days later. While on my way, the mast fell overboard and I motored back to Coruña to arrange the repair. This took quite awhile and I did not leave till july 1995. During the winter of '94/95 I lived in an apartment near Coruña and I nver had any problem with the spanish authorities. Since I decided to keep on living in Spain I applied for residancy and this did not have any consequences for the mregistartion of my ship. In 1995 I left Coruña, sailed along the portuguese and spanish atlantic coast and left my ship for the winter in Torrevieja, again no consequences. In the summer we, my wife, who has the spanish nationality, and I sailed in the Baleares and brought the ship at the end of august to Barcelona, where she spent the winter. Again no consequences. I conclude from all this, that in general the spanish authorities don't bother about the law, although I fear that when I bought another ship now, I might get problems. I am dutch and don't have an official paper either about my competance to sail a ship. In your situation I would not bother about anything.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    A mate of mine took his yacht to Marbella in June 2000 and left it there until May 2004, living on it probably 50% of the time. He had no problem at all, even when we were stopped at sea by the Gendarmees(spelling?) on our way back after visiting North Africa. If I were going out there I would not woory about this rule being they don't seem to apply it. Paul

  5. #5

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    The Cruising Association have been monitoring this situation for the last two years and have produced a lengthy report which is available on the members' pages of their website.

    Several members have been hit by very heavy taxes so it certainly is a situation to take seriously. The first point to make is that it is the days that you spend in Spain that matter - not the length of time your boat is there. If you leave the country for 24 hours every 182 days and can prove that you have done so, you should not have a problem. If you exceed that, in theory you must register as a Spanish Resident with all that that entails. However, as several other forum members have stated, so long as you keep moving, the authorities are highly unlikely to catch up with you.

    The real problem comes if you stay put in one place for more than 183 days. Even then, you will only have a problem if the relevant authorities notice. It would seem that the most common 'trigger' is owning or renting a property in the same locality. This alerts the authorities to your existence and radically increases your chances of being detected.

    This is only a very brief summary of the situation. If you have genuine cause for concern perhaps you might wish to consider joining the CA. They will not necessarily be able to solve all your problems, but they will keep you well informed.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    Hi, I bought a bought in Almerimar and lived on it for a while. There were loads of liveaboards in the marina and there was lots of chatter about this very issue. However, nobody ever had a problem other than when some idiot decided to draw attention to themselves by putting a flower box in fron of their mooring!

  7. #7
    trouville is offline
    Location : crusing with an Arpège
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    It must have been more than that, as many have sat dishes bolted to the pontoon/dock!!Beware of the Spanish, there not really nice and if they notice you they may well make administrative troubles for you. But at the same time im not a fan of boats used as fixed homes, and thus filling the ports which is why there are almost no place to use when crusing, and anchoring is not that comfortable in summer.
    The rules about staying are the same more or less everywhere accept in the UK where you still must pay taxes if need be after 6months residence. The real problem is that in France Spain and Italy to take three med contries, is that even if you dont have to pay taxes on your income/wealth as it falls below the minimum you do still have to pay social contributions, that applies for example to a Spanish French Italian citizen who recieves a minimum pension say £350PM from the state they must still PAY from that, contributions.
    As most contries insist that "residents" must be self supporting the minimum income declared is often set around £600 PM BUT you must be insured for medical and pension and therfor you must pay contributions even if you have private arrangements--in the UK social contributions are up to you-if you dont pay them you dont get benifits.

  8. #8
    jeanne is offline Registered User
    Location : Sanlucar de Guadiana, Espana
    Join Date
    Apr 2002

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    We live in Spain and keep our boat on a mooring we laid ourselves. We were requested last year to go to the local Capitania and obtain a permission to moor (as were all the boats in our river). It took 5 minutes and apart from that we have had no problems whatosever.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    The problem with this issue is that we have not yet found a definitive answer to the question.

    There is a mis-conception that leaving for Gib or Morroco for a day or two "resets the clock". This we do know is NOT true. We have been trying to find the proper legal answer to this difficult question and found that no two answers are the same. What we have found though from Spanish tax consultants is that if you are in the country for more than 183 days or more you are deemed as a "Spanish resident for tax purposes" and all that this entails, but of course this only happens if you either declare yourself or you get caught! This tax status includes re- registering your UK flagged boat to Spanish which you must do.

    If you go to a Spanish marina with an ESP registered boat you also have to have the equivalent of an RYA qualification. This involves doing a Spanish course in spanish but if you don't speak ESP then what do you do. Is there a way of converting your UK qualification to Spanish?

    I agree it is easier to keep your head down low and you might be left alone but if you are caught then the consequenses can be serious as mentioned in a paper published by the Cruising Association. Are there any other Spanish or UK tax consultants looking at this forum and this question.


  10. #10
    Wansworth is online now Registered User
    Location : SPAIN,Galicia
    Join Date
    May 2003

    Default Re: Living and sailing in Spain Legally....

    Hi I live in Galicia and I would be careful about staying over time.Iam a resident and have to abide by Spanish laws.There is toomuch paperpushing herer and very little common sense,to buy a boat in the uk second hand and take and keep it in Spain I would have to paytaxes and have the boatsurveyed and have a full stability test done.There is no real answer to this but asking at the proper office and getting it writing.DONT THINK THEY WONT SEE YOU . Just keep sailing!!

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