The Italian legislation regarding the maritime sector is quite comprehensive. The most important act is the Italian Code of Navigation that regulates shipping. Vessel registration in Italy falls under the regulations of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Italy has several ship registries that can be found at different ports authorities. Italy enabled Act No. 457/1997 and Act No. 30/1998 that established an International Registry.
Our team of lawyers in Italy are prepared to assist local and foreign investors with all the details concerning the registration of a maritime vehicle in this country; our attorneys can provide in-depth information on the documents that have to be submitted with the local institutions and may also advice on the laws that have to be implemented in this case.
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The International Shipping Registry in Italy
The Italian International Shipping Registry is divided into three sections. The first section of this registry deals with ships owned by EU and Italian companies or individuals. The second section is for vessels registered in non-EU countries that are taken over by an EU or Italian company or individual. The third section is dedicated to the vessels registered by non-EU citizens or companies that have been temporarily suspended by a non-EU registry as a result of an Italian bareboat.
Boats registered in the International Registry are subject to special provisions concerning fiscal and labor conditions, according to Act No. 457, but they must also comply with the provisions of the Italian Registry and our team of lawyers in Italy may assist with information concerning this rule of law.
What is the procedure for boat registration in Italy?
The first step when registering a boat in Italy is to file an application with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Rome, where the applicant will request the registration of the boat, the transfer of the boat’s name and the transfer of the international call sign. The two last requirements are for second hand boats only. Based on the application, the Ministry will issue an authorization for a provisional deed of nationality for the boat.
The provisional deed of nationality will be enclosed together with the request submitted to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in the application to the Harbor Master of the port where the boat will be registered. The Harbor Master will then refer the application to the Italian Consulate that will release the deed. If you need help with preparing the documentation for boat registration, you can rely on our Italian lawyers.
Does one need to obtain a license in Italy for the boat’s VHF equipment?
VHF equipment designates a very high radio frequency that is used for communication on various types of vessels. This type of equipment is build on almost all types of boats and it can be used for a wide range of purposes, from simple communication procedures with harbors to rescue services and others.
Having a VHF equipment on an Italian boat (or a boat registered in another country) also requires obtaining a certificate which states that the person entitled to use it has the necessary expertise (knowledge on the manner in which the system operates, as well as an education concerning the maritime procedures). Thus, it is necessary to obtain a certificate, which is legally required under the Italian legislation, that harmonized its legal system following international standards on the matter. Other requirements concerning the VHF system are presented below:
- • the VHF equipment is compulsory for any pleasure craft that sails six miles away from the coast;
- • the Article 29 of the Legislative Decree no. 171/2005 states that it is mandatory to obtain a license in this sense;
- • the license, which allows the installation of the VHF system, is obtained by applying at the Territorial Inspectorate of the Ministry of Economic Development;
- • the institution will issue, besides the license, an identification sign call.
In order to operate a VHF equipment, it is necessary to apply for a certificate of radio telephone operator for navigation and the standards for obtaining the certificate are given, at the EU’s level, by the International Radio Regulations. In the case of a EU citizen owning a boat in Italy, there is no need to apply for this certificate in this country, as long as the person was granted with the document in one of the EU member states; our team of Italian lawyers can offer more details on this matter.
Does the owner of an Italian boat need a safety certificate?
Yes, all Italian vessels need to have on board a safety certificate, which attests the fact that the respective unit complies with all the regulations on the matter, depending on its size and purpose. Please note that in Italy the safety certificate is also needed in the case of small boats, including pleasure vessels, and has to be registered with the Public Records of Pleasure Craft.
What are the requirements for selling Italian pleasure crafts?
The Italian pleasure crafts are defined as small boats that have a length of maximum 10 meters. Such vessels do not have to be registered with the Italian public records, as they are seen as movable unregistered goods. In this case, the procedures for selling/buying a small boat included in the category of pleasure crafts is completed following the regulations of the Italian Civil Code.
How can an investor start a business in the Italian maritime industry?
Due to the fact that Italy is a peninsular state with access to several seas, its maritime industry is rather developed. Thus, buying a boat for personal interests can be an appealing idea, but, since the sector is quite large, it also attracts various types of investors.
One of the ways to open a business in Italy in this industry is by starting a leasing or rental company, which can be an attractive business idea in the case of pleasure boats, due to the high number of tourists which want to discover interesting Italian regions.
In this situation, the investors will need to follow the requirements stipulated by the Article 2 of the Legislative Decree no. 171/2005. The business will also need to be registered with the Italian Chamber of Commerce, and our team of lawyers in Italy can advise on the procedures that are requested when submitting documents with this institution.
What are the clearance formalities in Italy?
As Italy is a member state of the European Union (EU), less regulations are imposed in the case of EU based boats. Thus, in the case of any EU vessel (with a length below 24 meters), there are no clearance formalities, provided that the respective boat carries only EU nationals.
Still, even in this case, the boat is required to have a valid insurance certificate as it is the case of any other type of boat entering the Italian waters. Non-EU boats are legally required to announce their presence on the Italian territory by contacting the customs and immigration authorities in the port in which they have arrived.
What are the documents required to obtain the provisional deed of nationality in Italy?
In order to obtain the boat’s provisional deed of nationality, the owner must submit the following documents:
- – the legalized bill of sale for a second hand boat or builder’s certificate for a new boat,
- – a copy of the tonnage certificate,
- – a legalized owner and freedom from encumbrances certificate for a second hand boat or declaration of warranty for a new boat
- – a legalized provisional or permanent deletion certificate from the previous registry for a second hand boat or a certificate issued by the Italian Consulate.
Based on these documents, the Italian Consulate will send the documentation together with the certified copy of the provisional deed of nationality to the Ministry. After the Ministry verifies the documents, it will forward them to the Harbor Master that will register the boat. If you want to register a vessel and need assistance during the process, you can contact our law firm in Italy.