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Article Italy: Amendments to the Nautical Sports Code Approved

(Jan. 4, 2021) On November 12, 2020, Italy’s government issued Legislative Decree No. 160, which amends and corrects the consolidated text of the Nautical Sports Code.

Regulated Activities

The code applies to navigation carried out in maritime or inland waters, exclusively for sporting or recreational and nonprofit purposes, using pleasure boats having any method of propulsion and a hull up to six meters long, measured according to harmonized international standards. (D.L. No. 160, art. 3(1)(a).)

Boats used for pleasure or recreational purposes must be registered in the ATCN, a central electronic archive of recreational craft. The registration must include information concerning the shipyard where the boat was built, completed or assembled; the title of ownership; a deed containing a certification that the craft is the owner’s exclusive property; the technical characteristics of the model; and the identification code of the hull. (D.L. No. 160, art. 6(1)(a).)

Nautical Licenses

In general, pleasure boat renters must have a nautical license. In certain cases where the renter does not have a license and there is no obligation to obtain one, however, the boat owner must provide the renter with the necessary instructions for operating the craft, in writing and drawn up according to the standards set out in the code. (D.L. No. 160, art. 11(8).)

There are four categories of nautical licenses: A, B, C, and D, depending on certain factors including the characteristics of the craft’s hull, the power of the installed engines, sailing limits from the coast and at sea, and the weather conditions under which sailing is permitted. Applications for categories A, B, and C require examination of the applicant’s mental and physical fitness. (D.L. No. 160, art. 15(1)(b).)

Under the code, a national registry of nautical licenses at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport serves multiple purposes, including navigation safety and safeguarding human life at sea, the prevention and repression of crimes committed through the use of pleasure craft, and the gathering of updated data on yacht users. (D.L. No. 160, art. 16(1)(a).) Several other aspects related to the nautical registry are regulated through governmental degrees, including the type of operations that can be performed at sea, protective measures for interested parties, protection of personal data for the rights and freedoms of the interested parties, as well as the methods for access and transmission of available data. (D.L. No. 160, art. 16(1)(g).) 

Professional Sailing Instructors

A professional sailing instructor is defined as someone who, in exchange for a fee or salary, teaches the different techniques of sailing and provides instruction in sailing practice in maritime and inland waters and prepares candidates for exams to obtain nautical licenses. Someone may be a part-time professional sailing instructor as long as instruction is given regularly rather than occasionally. (D.L. No. 160, art. 21(1).)

An up-to-date registration in the national list of professional sailing instructors is a condition for exercising the profession and for the use of the title. (D.L. No. 160, art. 21(2).) Registration is effective for five years, renewable for an additional five years; renewal of registration may be requested even after five years from the date of previous enrollment or renewal. (D.L. No. 160, art. 22(5).) The national list of professional sailing instructors is published on the institutional sites of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the municipalities in whose territory sailing centers are located, the Navy, the Italian Naval League, and the Italian Sailing Federation. (D.L. No. 160, art. 22(6).) Unless the act constitutes a crime, anyone who acts as a professional sailing instructor without such registration is subject to an administrative fine ranging from €2,000 to €6,000 (about US$2,450 to US$7,353). (D.L. No. 160, art. 21(2).)

Nautical Schools and Boating Education Centers

Nautical schools are institutions organized for seafaring education and training and for the preparation of candidates for nautical license exams in one or more of the categories provided for in the code. (D.L. No. 160, art. 23(10).) National associations and other related organizations recognized by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport as nautical education centers can carry out nonprofit training and preparation activities for candidates for exams to obtain a nautical license. (D.L. No. 160, art. 24(1).) The activity of a nautical school is conducted in the form of a company or a consortium of companies. (D.L. No. 160, art. 23(1).) Foreign citizens may apply for a license to operate a nautical school, but they must possess a minimum level of competence in the Italian language. (D.L. No. 160, arts. 23(3) & 23(4)(c).)

The application for recognition as a boating education center must be presented to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport by the legal representative of the national nautical body or association. (D.L. No. 160, art. 24(4).) Each boating education center must communicate the list of its branches or local affiliations that carry out boating education center activities and the names of their educational managers, as well as any variation thereof within 30 days from the date on which it occurred to the Territorial Directorate General of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and to the harbor master’s office in whose territorial area the local branches or affiliations are located. (D.L. No. 160, art. 24(7).) Nautical education centers must have one or more teachers of theory and, for the execution of practical exercises, one or more instructors, or at any rate one or more persons who perform both functions. (D.L. No. 160, art. 24(9).)

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