A boat is defined as any floating unit capable of having its own direction of motion regardless of what determines it, be it the force of the wind (sail propulsion), that of an engine (engine propulsion) or the force of man himself (propulsion rowing).
There are two types of boats suitable for pleasure navigation:
- Recreational craft, i.e. all those boats used in inland and maritime waters for non-profit purposes, i.e. for recreational purposes or for sporting purposes.
- Units used for commercial purposes - and this is one of the innovations introduced by the new Nautical Code - that is, those intended for hire, for professional pleasure boating instruction, for mooring assistance for pleasure craft, for assistance and towing of pleasure craft or those used by diving and diving training centers as support units for scuba diving for sport or recreational purposes.
The category of vessels used for commercial purposes also includes vessels with a hull longer than 24 meters, with a gross tonnage not exceeding 1,000 tons, used in international navigation exclusively for chartering for tourism purposes.
Depending on the length of the hull, pleasure craft can in turn be divided into:
- Jet ski. A watercraft is considered any pleasure craft with a hull length of less than 4 meters, which uses a propulsion engine with a water jet pump as its primary source of propulsion and is intended to be operated by one or more seated people , standing or kneeling on the hull, rather than inside it.
- Pleasure craft, i.e. rowing units or units with hulls up to 10 meters in length.
- Pleasure craft, i.e. units with a hull longer than 10 meters and up to 24 meters.
- Pleasure ships. The latter have a hull longer than 24 meters and are divided into:
- larger pleasure vessels (with a gross tonnage exceeding 500 GT),
- smaller pleasure craft (with a gross tonnage up to 500 GT) e
- historic minor pleasure craft (with tonnage up to 120 GT, built before 1 January 1967).
This classification is very important, because the rules to be respected vary according to the type of pleasure craft.
For pleasure boats (unlike boats and jet skis) the following are mandatory:
- Navigation licence, even provisional, which entitles you to the type of navigation permitted by the construction characteristics of the vessel;
- Safety certificate, which certifies the seaworthiness status.
Both documents are issued by the Sportello Telematico del diportista (STED) upon registration. Even for pleasure boats it is mandatory to have a navigation license and a safety certificate. However, unlike what happens for pleasure boats, the navigation license that is issued for pleasure boats entitles them to navigate in inland and maritime waters without any limits.
Both ships and pleasure craft are registered in the Central Electronic Archive of Pleasure Crafts.