The Nomenclature and Legal Classification of Pleasure Crafts


The need to regulate the phenomenon of nautical tourism, strongly felt at least in the Mediterranean area, has led the Italian legislator to provide a special framework for pleasure crafts different from the general discipline of the Italian Navigation Code. The provisions contained in the Italian Sailing Code (the so called “Co-dice della Nautica da Diporto”) offer a legal classification of crafts destined to pleasure navigation (distinguishing, depending on the length, between “unità da diporto”, “nave da diporto”, “imbarcazione da diporto”, “natante da diporto”), thereby specifying the scope of the definition of “ship” laid down in Article 136 of the Italian Navigation Code. The latter, indeed, in its first paragraph, after including any construc-tion destined to carriage on water, also for towage or fishing purposes, refers to craft intended for pleasure sailing or other purposes as well. Moreover, the adoption of EU directives, aimed at harmonizing the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States and the characteristics of pleasure craft, has extended the definition of “watercraft” to new categories and purposes. Therefore, the regulatory framework, already repeatedly revised, is still evolving. The article will focus on the analysis of the current Italian and Europe-an regulatory framework, on the existing discrimen between merchant vessels and pleasure crafts and on the identification of the consequences related to this distinction, with particular regard to the relevant requirements and limits laid down for the category of pleasure crafts

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