At the end of July 2016, it was confirmed that I passed my “Patron de Yate” (PY) exam and after doing my practicals between Cádiz, Gibralter & Ceuta on the north of Africa, I received my PY Licence in August. I can now legally sail 150 nautical miles, some 278 km, from a coast.
The catch with the navigation limits on my licence? Pandora is registered to Zone 4 which is 12 nautical miles (some 22km) from the coast.
It turns out that, despite my Oceanis 350 having a design category A, Oceanic, I need to get a CE certificate which would cost me some four or five thousand Euros – without guarantees she would be upgraded in Navigational Zone by the Spanish Authorities (DGMM). This despite other boats of the same make & model being in superior categories to mine on the Spanish Registry. To this, I’d need to have an official inspection done (ITB) with it’s cost, purchase a new life raft (current one isn’t approved by DGMM), get an approved EPIRB, upgrade my first aid kit and medicines, get a second approved compass, and a long etc. More or less, some €11000 or more.
I’d rather spend the money on bringing the boat up to speed and making her more seaworthy, safe and reliable, which is what, in theory, the inspection is all about, right?
After a lot of frustration, I’ve decided to follow the growing trend of registering my boat on the Belgium registry. This is legal for residence of Spain as long as you pay your taxes, which I’ve already done when I purchased the boat. The Belgium registry will cost me some €57 every five years or so for being a vessel older than 10 years old and for the Belgium registry, you can manage my MMSI directly with the International Beacon Registration Database (IBRD) which manage the information for COSPAS& SARSAT. I’ll also have to reprogram electronics with the new MMSI when I do this.
I plan to commence this change in December 2016. Using an agency, it should cost me some €350. It’s going to be a sad day when I remove the Spanish flag but it’s going to be a lot cheaper and more hassle free.
With this now decided on, it’s time to enjoy the summer with friends and family aboard Pandora then get into the rebuild & paperwork in the low season.
But more about that shortly.