Sailing licenses: which one do you need for your boat?

Marinemax - Sailing licenses

Just finished the de-climbing and located in the first days of summer, we all want to return to normal. We do not know to what degree we will be able to achieve it, but something that is very clear is that we need to take a well-deserved rest. 

If you have or want to buy a boat from suppliers such as Marinemax, you must take into account that a sailing license is required. Depending on the type of boat you choose, the steps to obtain it may vary. Do you know which one corresponds to you?

Which license is needed?

Looking for similarities, we can say that the navigation license is to the sea what the driving license is to the road, and there are different types of licenses, depending on the size, distance or activity for which you want to use it.

Starting from the basic navigation license, you can apply for a higher license. In order to acquire this one, these requirements must be fulfilled:

  • Be of legal age, or have reached 16 years of age and have prior authorization from a legal guardian.
  • To make a theoretical formation of 2 hours like minimum, in a school that counts on homologation to give the classes.
  • To do 4 hours of practice in a boat, also in an approved school (as a general rule it will be the same as for the theory).
  • To make a psycho-technical recognition in an official center. The usual thing is that the clinics that make recognitions to drivers can also certify you to apply for a navigation license.

This basic license allows you to sail with boats of up to 6 meters in length and move 2 miles away from the coast. Only from sunrise to sunset.

Next we will see different types of boats from Marinemax, and the requirements to obtain the corresponding license.

Recreational boat

The pleasure boat permit is the most requested of all. It allows you to sail with boats up to 15 meters by day and night, up to 12 miles away or between islands of the same archipelago.

To obtain the license of pleasure boats, besides having the navigation license is required:

  • To pass a test of 45 questions.
  • To be 18 years old.
  • To have made practices of navigation at least 16 hours in an approved school.
  • To realize the course of operator of radio of short range which duration is 12 hours.

Water motorcycle

The jet ski navigation license is the basic navigation license. In fact you can drive jet skis with any kind of sailing license, as long as they are registered in Spain.


If they are up to 6 meters long, the license is the same as for jet skis. In case you want to drive a longer one, get away from the coast or sail at night, you will need a boat skipper’s license for basic navigation. This allows you to go out to sea up to 5 miles, and to take boats of up to 8 meters.

To achieve this, these are the requirements:

  • Theoretical test of 27 questions.
  • To be of legal age or 16 years old and authorized by a tutor.
  • Cover 8 hours of practice in a nautical school.
  • Take a 4 hour radio communications course and present the corresponding certificate.

Sport fishing boat

Marinemax sport fishing boats are subject to the same characteristics as the rest of the boats in terms of size, distances, etc. In case of exceeding 15 meters you will need a yacht license, in addition to the corresponding fishing licenses.

The title of yacht skipper allows you to take boats up to 150 miles out to sea and handle boats up to 24 meters.

To obtain the yacht skipper’s permit you need to be in possession of a recreational boat license, pass two exams, one for safety and meteorology, and another for navigation and marine cartography.

In addition, you must certify that you have made practices in crossing during 48 consecutive hours, fulfilling an official plan of navigation.