The development of "Commercial" pleasure craft and the spread of marine tourism has led to a new conception of boating with the assignment of conduct and governance to people with a specific professional title and not simple qualifications such as nautical licenses. This was done with the D.M. 10 May 2005 no. 121 containing the "Regulation on the establishment and regulation of professional recreational qualifications".
Before today's structure, for the command of boats used for hire in maritime waters, it was established pursuant to art. 10 paragraph 1 of the law 647/96 the professional title of "Conductor for pleasure boats used for hire" included in the category of maritime professional titles and still valid for holders by virtue of article 14 of the D.M. 121/05. It was issued without supplementary examination to those who, in addition to being registered in the Gente di mare, were in possession of the limited RTF certificate and had held a nautical license for at least three years. In addition to this, Legislative Decree 229/17 introduced the title of 2nd class officer for pleasure craft which should be simplified but, to date (March 2022) the implementing DM is awaited.

Moving on to examine the current legislation, the art. 1 of decree 121/05 indicates its field of application as limited to personnel embarked on ships and pleasure boats employed in chartering activities, on pleasure ships referred to in art. 3l. 172/03 (superyachts) used exclusively on tourist cruises and in general for personnel embarked on non-commercial pleasure boats.

A certain permeability has been implemented between the "classic" maritime professional titles and those of pleasure craft pursuant to art. 13 of the decree which establishes the possibility of automatic achievement of the qualifications for pleasure craft by the holders of maritime professional titles establishing that the qualifications of master, captain, navigation officer, chief engineer officer, engineer captain and engineer officer referred to in decree min. transp. and nav. of 5 October 2000 allow their holders to obtain the corresponding qualifications referred to in our decree 121/05. Moving on to the positive discipline, the art. 2 establishes 6 distinct professional titles according to the tradition wanted by the Code of navigation between machine and deck.
They are:

A) Section covered:

  1. Pleasure navigation officer; (he can embark as deck officer (not 1st) on pleasure boats and as captain on all charter boats – art. 5)
  2. Captain of the pleasure craft; (he can embark as 1st officer on pleasure boats and command ships also used for hire under 500 GRT - art. 6)
  3. Commander of the yacht; (commands pleasure boats up to 3000 GRT - art. 7)

B) Machine section:

  1. Pleasure engineer officer; (embarks on pleasure craft as engineer officer (not 1st) with power lower than 3000KW or as chief engineer officer for ships and boats with power under 1500KW art. 10)
  2. Pleasure engineer (embarks as 1st engineer or chief engineer on ships under 3000 kW power art. 11)
  3. Chief engineer of the pleasure craft. (may embark as chief engineer on pleasure craft equipped with engines of power even higher than 3000 kW art. 12)

The art. 3 establishes that the aforementioned personnel must be enrolled in the first category seafarers' registration numbers, and therefore destined for international navigation and subject to the dictates of the STCW 78/95 convention to which Italy has adhered with law 739/85. Consequently, the provisions of art. 113 et seq. of the code nav. about seafarers.

Similar to what has been done for traditional long-term securities, Articles 4 and 9 provide for the qualifications of pleasure navigation officer cadet and pleasure engineering officer cadet to obtain which you must be 16 years old, have completed compulsory schooling and be enrolled in the 1st category of seafarers' freshmen. The articles 5, 6 and 7 then draw the requirements for obtaining the "certificate" respectively of navigation officer, captain and commander of the pleasure craft. For cover securities, art. 8 specifies that they are prescribed for the purpose of carrying out work on board motor units. For units equipped with sailing propulsion, the particular "sailing" specialization has been instituted, which is achieved after a specific theoretical and practical exam on sailing management according to the provisions of art. 9 of the Directorial Decree 17/12/07 which derives from the D.M. 30/11/07 on maritime professional titles. The expenses relating to the use of nautical means for carrying out the test are to be borne by the candidate. The examination commission, in this case, will be integrated by a sailing instructor designated by the F.I.V. or by the Italian Naval League.

The subsequent articles 10, 11 and 12 concern respectively the pleasure engineer officer, the pleasure engineer captain and the pleasure craft chief engineer. For all qualifications, a period of navigation/traineeship is envisaged with navigation pre-eminence on pleasure craft used for hire. The duration of the internship is related to the possession or not of the nautical institute diploma. For the Captain of the pleasure craft, a year of certified short international navigation is also mandatory which, pursuant to art. 1 no. 36 of the Presidential Decree 435/91 containing the safety regulation for merchant ships is the one "which takes place between ports of different states during which the ship does not move away more than 200 miles from a port or a place where the crew and passengers can find refuge, provided that the distance between the last port of call in the state where the journey originates and the final port of destination does not exceed 600 miles. from the coast". For this title it is possible to alternate navigation on a pleasure boat with that on a private use boat pursuant to art. 25l. 472/99; The mandatory period of navigation is reduced for those in possession of a nautical institute diploma.

As mentioned, the officers in question obtain a certificate and must comply with the provisions of the International Convention on training and watchkeeping standards - STCW 78/95 and have attended courses in personal safety and social responsibilities) (PSSR), qualified seafarer to life-saving appliances (MAMS), Global maritime distress safety system (GMDSS), Harp Radar, basic and advanced fire-fighting and first aid unless otherwise provided for by current updates of the aforementioned legislation. To obtain the certificates of officer and captain of both deck and engine pleasure craft, it is in any case necessary to pass a theoretical and practical exam at the end of the internship to be carried out at the Maritime Directorates pursuant to Ministerial Decree 30/11/07 and Directorial Decree of 17/12/07 published in the SO O.J. no. 13 of 16 January 2008, concerning the examination programs for mercantile titles. The exams envisaged for the achievement of these titles are carried out jointly and with programs equal to those envisaged for the maritime professional titles referred to in the aforementioned decrees. Naturally, the commission, informed on the qualification required, will be able to direct the examination in a useful sense for the different professionalism to be probed compared to the candidates for professional titles for classic merchant shipping.

For cover securities, the notation referred to in art. 8 which specifies in the first paragraph that they are prescribed for the purpose of carrying out work on board motor units.

The art. 14 dictates the transitional provisions admitting in the eighteen months from the entry into force of the regulation in question and therefore on 20 January 2007, the conversion of the title of conductor of pleasure boats used for hire in maritime waters into that of pleasure navigation officer. The same applies to holders of a boat license for pleasure boats. Furthermore, the aforementioned title retains its validity and kind of qualification. The right cognitive culmination is constituted by the specific CCNL of 1 July 2015 which replaced the previous ones of 2007. Ultimately therefore a system of titles dedicated to pleasure craft has been implemented which ensure a professionalization of the workers in the sector and this is on the basis of experience of navigation, mandatory courses and exams to be passed which, being similar to those for the highest maritime professional titles, ensure the preparation of these sailors and the serenity of the users who will rely on them.

We see the binomial information that is knowledge and less risk / safety that comes from the application of the theoretical maxims and experience acquired in the exercise of navigation. It is superfluous to observe that thanks to the greater basic preparation required and the consequent professional commitment there will certainly be positive effects on the side of the prevention of accidents at sea and in general of security which constitutes today more than ever an essential requirement to which civilization of the third millennium must strive.-


Avv. Ettore Romagnoli

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