Nautical tourism is continuing to become more popular nowadays and the number of people taking up sailing is on the rise. According to a report by the National Association of Nautical Businesses (ANEN), 2021 was a record year, with more than 95,000 people becoming qualified to sail leisure craft. Specifically, 34,352 new recreational licences were issued in 2021, in addition to almost 61,000 new users who acquired sailing qualifications in Spain last year.
The licence for Patrón de Embarcación de Recreo (recreational boat skipper) is still the one most newcomers go for, and 23,749 were issued last year. Next were Patrón de Navegación Básica (basic navigation skipper) qualifications, with 5,725 being awarded. There were also 3,304 new Patrón de Yate licences, and 1,574 qualified as a Capitán de Yate.
By region, Catalonia issued the most sailing licences in 2021 (8,711), followed by the Balearic Islands with 4,912. In third place was Murcia with 3,957, then Galicia with 2,381 and Andalucía with 2,221.
"There is a lot more interest in sailing now . A large number of people decided to give it a go when the pandemic started and it has been shown to be a safe activity," said Manuel Jiménez, the president of Marinas de Andalucía.
Other figures support this. For example, small boat registrations (up to eight metres) increased by an average of 10 per cent, and continue to account for the largest market share (86%).
Other areas dropped compared with the same period in 2021, especially due to the logistics crisis and a lack of supplies in certain markets. This has mainly affected jetskis, whose registrations fell by 23.7% and motor yachts (down 6.7%). Sailing yachts continue to sell well, and the number of new registrations increased by 6.5%, which ANEN said is also due to sailing being a sustainable activity.