Another summer begins, and Spain with her islands and 6,000 km of coast on both the Mediterranean and Atlantic, attracts literally thousands and thousands of recreational and sporting yachts from all over the world. So it would seem to us that this is a good moment to remind all concerned, and particularly owners of such vessels, of the 10 point guideline regarding mandatory insurance cover as a matter of Spanish law:

1.- Applicable law:

Royal Decree 607/1999 approving the Regulation of Mandatory Civil Liability Insurance for recreational or sporting vessels and subsidiarily (ie to fill any gaps in the Royal Decree), Law 50/1980 governing the Contract of Insurance.

2.- Scope:

All motor propelled floating craft designed for recreational and sporting navigation, including jet skis.  This law will also apply to those floating vessels that, though they lack any motor propulsion, are over 6m in length.

3.- Object:

The mandatory insurance is intended to cover the owner’s, owner’s skippers and water and jet skier’s civil liability arising from the navigation of recreational and sporting craft in Spanish territorial waters for both physical damage and personal injury to third parties and port and marine installations.

4.- Applies to Foreign yachts?

Yes – when sailing in Spanish territorial and interior waters with a point of entry or departure from a Spanish port, the owner must hold civil liability cover in accordance with Spanish law as set out above.

5.- Risks covered:

  • Third party death and personal injury
  • Damage to third party property
  • Third party economic losses arising from death, personal injury or physical damage
  • Contact and/or collision damage to other vessels
  • Save agreement otherwise, defense legal costs cover

6.- Exclusions:

  • Own losses
  • Death or personal injury to paying passengers
  • Death or personal injury to employees and any other professional subcontractors, including the skipper
  • Damages caused by the yacht etc during repairs, drydock, tow or carriage by land
  • Damage to personal belongings on board
  • Personal injury or physical damage caused as a result of knowingly boarding a yacht etc that is navigated or skippered by any person without a licence
  • Damage caused to the yacht or towed craft during salvage and rescue at sea
  • Personal injury caused by stolen yachts
  • Payment of and failure to pay fines and penalties
  • Damages caused during regattas, sea trials, or competitions of any kind, including challenges or training exercises

7.- Limits:

€ 120,202 – personal injury per victim with a maximum limit of €240,404

€ 96,161 – physical damage per incident

8.- Increase cover?

Yes – Spanish law fixes only the minimum cover for civil liability.

9.- Sailing without insurance:

This is categorized by the Spanish Law of Ports of the State and Merchant Marine as a “serious breach” and carries with it a fine of up to € 120,202.

And

10.- Anything else?

Yes, Law 50/1980 governing the Contract of Insurance applies subsidiarily and as a matter of general insurance law, a foreign underwriter should be aware of the following two issues:

  • A third party enjoys a right of direct action against the civil liability marine insurer, and
  • Where the insurer delays beyond a two-year period in payment to their insured, up to a 20% penalty interest can
  • apply to that late payment.

And with that, all that is left to say is Bon Voyage!