How does the transport of yachts and other vessels fit within the European legal framework?

Protecting safety while at sea is a crucial aspect of maritime transport policy. Boat and yacht transport, as well as the transport of any other similar means of transportation, cannot disregard the safety of any passengers, if any are present. This is a pre-established, fundamental principle of any regulation that governs that legal relationship. In the same way, the protection of the marine environment and coastal regions cannot be disregarded, which are the natural environments within which yacht transport takes place. Considering the global dimensions of sea transport, defining the boundaries of a uniform regulation at an international level was deemed essential. It was the International Maritime Organisation which took the initiative. It established international safety rules that, today, represent a single standard for all those who are parties within a sea transport contract.


Respecting the environment in yacht transport: an absolutely indispensable tenet

Yacht and boat transport by sea could not stay immune from the strict regulations provided for by the EU concerning environmental protection. This is a good thing, seeing as that - by its very nature - moving large vessels and, in some cases, those of an impressive scale, can damage the environment. That is why extremely well-defined rules and standards were urgently required.

Thus it was the very same International Maritime Organisation that signed ad hoc international agreements. From these it is impossible not to mention the Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Faced with such an important and influential invention, swift changes to our national laws were required in order to adjust to these agreements. The result of this was a special paradigm within Italy's policy on sea transport in terms of preventing sea pollution.


New legislation for yacht transport customs procedures

As is well known, the transport of yachts and similar vessels must comply with a series of obligations related to customs clearance. Customs - state border bodies - are assigned the duties of checking, monitoring and carrying out all the formalities related to inward and outward movement. This holds for people, goods and, of course, means of transport. Consequently, as is easy to imagine, today the transport of vessels by sea must comply fully with all the additional laws, directives and other rules issued by the EU concerning customs procedures.

As a result of this intervention, additional bureaucratic obligations must be fulfilled, now as never before. This led to a call to order intended for all sea operators and, consequently, the companies involved in yacht transport, as well as boats of any kind. Consequently, custom obligations are not so easy to interpret. Luckily, there are companies on the market that offer custom consultancy on import/export in order to make embarking and logistics simpler and easier.


Directive 94/25: important innovation within the nautical and yacht transport world

Moreover, one of the most crucial legislative interventions concerning yacht transport and the free movement of vessels by sea cannot - and must not - go unnoticed. This concerns Directive 94/25. Due to the relative provisions contained within it, our legal system also had to comply with a new philosophy.

And that is how a renewed approach to EU directives came about, which featured a stronger focus on an orientation towards the free movement of goods, as well as people and services. What these important changes were was soon clarified: no country within the European Union may prevent the entry of a CE market product within its territory. So as to not endanger the health and safety of people or the environment. As is clear to see, this is a great opportunity which, in light of the facts, few industry operators knew how to grasp, in truth. The regulations, considered by some to be cumbersome and fragmented, is actually the first step toward the free movement of a broader range of vessels and services. The question arises - when will the industry of vessel transport by sea be able to put this desired change into place? From the data it results that, in actual fact, very few yacht and boat transport professionals have made the most of these new opportunities.

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