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Balearics gets tough on unlicensed holiday boats 

Mallorca and Ibiza have declared war on the rental of “pirate holiday boats” to tourists.

The Balearic Government says the situation is so bad, particularly in Ibiza, that the number of pirate boats sailing around the islands outnumber those with the correct licence.

They warn the situation is putting people at risk because of sub-standard safety conditions on board and are being sailed by people without qualifications.

Holiday letting sites such as Airbnb are being told NOT to advertise holiday boat rentals unless the number of the relevant licence is provided. If they flaunt the new rule, they will be fined as much as 100,000 euros.

The Port Authority is following the lead of the campaign against illegal holiday flat and villa rentals which is seen as a huge problem across the islands. Massive fines of 300,000 euros have already been dished out to some of the big holiday rental sites, including Airbnb, for not checking if the owner is properly registered with their local council.

The crackdown follows continuous complaints made by the Balearic association of maritime activity companies (APEAM).

The group’s president José María Jiménez said the presence in the archipelago of boats rented, mainly to tourists, without having the corresponding licence was “massive”.

He estimates that at the start of this summer, there were about 2,700 illegal boats being rented out in the Balearics, the same number as legal ones.

All boats intending to be rented out to holidaymakers need a licence and must be included in the official maritime register.

Websites advertising boats to hire will be checked on a regular basis and there will be fines of 60 to 500 euros in the case of slight breaches, 500 to 10,000 euros for serious ones and 10,000 to 100,000 euros for very serious ones. The latter will apply if previous rule flouting is repeated.

The APEAM wants these fines to be toughened up as it says the lower penalties will not act as a sufficient deterrent to stop websites from advertising illegal boat rentals.