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Legislation on the pleasure crafts flying the flag of one of the EU Member States.

Until 31 December 1992 all pleasure crafts, regardless of their flag, when entering the national waters and during all their stay in Italy were subject to the customs control according to the Geneva Convention of 18.5.1956 concerning the temporary import.

Since the integration of the European Common Market and the free movement of people, goods and services, the Geneva Convention cannot be applied to pleasure crafts belonging to the 15 EU Countries and to the 3 European Economic Area States (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). This Convention is still applicable to the third country crafts.


A) Since the above reform of the customs legislation, the E.U. pleasure crafts:

  • can freely sail in the territorial waters and stay in the Italian ports for whole the required duration without any formality. However they must have the ship's papers, the yacht-master licence and the safety equipment envisaged by the legislation of their country;
  • must be ensured on the third party civil liability and have on board the "carta verde". European Directives 72/166/EC and 72/430/EC on the approximation of the laws of Member States relating to insurance against civil liability affects only the legislation on motor vehicles. Pleasure crafts are still regulated by the relevant national laws;
  • can be rented or chartered according to the same procedures foreseen for the Italian boats. However it must be taken into account that, in consideration of the different European laws, some problems related to administrative certificates and to the safety of navigation requirements have to be solved;
  • can be registered in the Italian registers. For doing so the EU citizens have to give as address their own consular Authority. Take into consideration that the new regulation concerning the safety of navigation for pleasures craft recognises as valid those technical certifications issued by or on behalf of the other EU Member States.
  • must comply with the provisions established by the maritime Authority and concerning the navigation in the Italian waters. They must also observe the specific rules and prohibitions in the coastal band that, during summertime, is traditionally reserved for swimming.
  • can stay in the public ports free of charge, at the quays which are not given in concession. In the private tourist ports the mooring tariffs and the cost of the various services can be consulted at the local harbour master office ( Capitaneria di Porto).

B) Foreign yachtmaster certificates. A foreign citizen of the Union (and even of the third countries) in possession of a yacht-master certificate or of another document recognised as being equivalent by his/her State, can drive any type of pleasure craft provided that it is free of charge and within the limits of the document.

C) Administrative and tax legislation.

1. When in the territorial waters, pleasure crafts flying an EU or a third country flag are not subjected to any formalities at their arrival or departure to or from the Italian ports. They are not required to pay any fee, maritime duty or charge.

2. All pleasure crafts (flying an Italian, a EU or a third country flag) that are bound for a port outside the customs territory of the Community, can load naval stores free of customs. In order to exploit this profit you must only ask at any Maritime Office to have the" Giornale partenze ed arrivi". After having taken on board the provisions you have to leave the port within 8 hours.

Navigation in the marine protected areas

So far Italy has created, through a special legislation, 18 marine protected areas with the purpose to defend and safeguard those parts of the territory with a particular environmental interest. From West to East the Italian marine protected areas are: Cinque Terre, Portofino, Arcipelago Toscano, Ventotene e Santo Stefano, P.Campanella, Isola di Ustica, Isole Egadi, Isola dei Ciclopi, Capo Rizzuto, Porto Cesareo, Torre Guaceto, Isole Tremiti, Miramare, Arcipelago di La Maddalena, Pen. Sinis-Isola di Mal di Ventre, Tavolara - Punta Coda Cavallo, Capo Carbonara e Parco Nazionale dell 'Asinara.

In order to prevent damage to the environment in these areas, a number of prohibitions and restrictive defences and rules are in force:

  • It is prohibited to sail near the coast (generally the minimum distance is 1000/2000 metres).
  • It is strictly prohibited to fish, to pick shellfish, seafoods or any type of sea plant, to take away minerals or archaeological objects.
  • Motor sailing and anchoring are also prohibited.
  • Bathing, swimming and water sports are permitted only in limited zones. Special rules and local limitations can be in place according to the area. It is thus preferable to enquire at the local Maritime Office (Capitaneria di Porto).



A free phone number for emergencies is available for the whole territory. It is the 1530 Blue Number "Emergency at Sea and on the Beaches". If you dial 1530 from a mobile phone you can contact the Coast Guard staff based in Rome that will deal with the emergency. If you dial 1530 from a normal telephone you can speak directly with the local Capitaneria di Porto.



Italian Marinas.