Illegal Boat Rentals Next in Line For Balearic Clampdown

The Balearic Government will toughen sanctions against the illegal rental of boats and will use the new legislation designed for tourist rental properties to incorporate the illegal and unregulated trade.

The crackdown was announced by the General Director of Ports and Airports, Xavier Ramis , after a meeting held yesterday with representatives of the employers of maritime companies of the islands (Apeam).

The objective is to develop a sanction system that resembles the one that has been set for the tourist rental of houses in time for enforcement in Summer 2019.

The meeting was held to analyse the recent start-up of the register of vessels that are engaged in this nautical charter activity, and in which 2,722 are already listed.

But Apeam contends that this figure accounts for only half of the 5,000 plus it estimates are operating in the Balearics.

The president of the association of maritime excursions, Santiago Mayol, and his counterpart in the nautical charter, José María Jiménez, said that the new registry in which all vessels operating must appear, will be a very useful tool when it comes to prosecuting those acting outside the law, and applauded the interest in this issue by the Government.

The director said that fines for a serious offence range from 500 to 10,000 euros, and that they will be reviewed to have a powerful sanctioning regime that will stop those illegally trading in the sector already and deter new charter boats from entering without their vessels and business fully registered.

The representatives of Apeam highlighted that legal companies are registering a significant decrease in their activity this summer, despite the fact that the anchorage areas of the islands are full. They say this can only be due to “a good part of the demand being absorbed by those who act outside the law”.

They also pointed out that one of the irregular practices used to avoid detection is that of the barqueo, which means that the charter boat never comes into port, and that those renting the vessel are taken to it on a zodiac or similar tender. In working this way, the charter vessel avoids port costs and damages the environment, as waste generated must be dumped at sea.