Panamanian recreational boat license

I received the following question and do not have an answer. Perhaps another CC reader does.

Name: Vesa
Comment: Hi Don, I’ve just recently subscribed to your blog and have been enjoying it immensely. I really appreciate the combination of valuable information and humor. My wife and I have a property on an island off the coast of Boca Chica with the intention of “snow-birding” there soon.

One thing I’ve been trying to find out is how would I go about aquiring a Panamanian recreational boat license.

If possible could you put it out there for some information or a contact on this issue.
Thanks in advance for any help you or your readers could offer.

10 thoughts on “Panamanian recreational boat license

  1. There is no panamanian licence required. You do have to register your boat. Need a name of the boat that is not in the registration system. two [2] 8X10 panamanian flags on port and stern of boat. Five photos of the boat with all the safety equipment visible. You can get the registration and information at the cpt of the port located in pedregal across the street from Stellas restaurant.

  2. Pat and James, thank you for taking the time to help me out with this. I may be being led astray by this: Panama Maritime Authority: Resolucion JD No. 008-2001. Which seems to outline the requirement for these boating licences. Possibly this resolution applies only to residents?

  3. I received the following and will add it to the comments.

    Name: John
    Comment: Hi Don,
    I hope you receive this, I cannot get it to post on the blog, in answer to the question about a boat license:
    You DO need a license to operate any motor boat in Panamanian waters. You have to attend a class for the type of license you need, i.e. outboard to 10 meters, inboard, commercial, etc. These classes are given in all the provinces at different times. It is best to check with the Port Captain to find out when the next class will be held. He will give you the requirements which include a letter of good health from a doctor, photos, stamps that you buy at the bank, $10 for Panamanians and $160. for Extranjeros. The class is in Spanish, there is no test, but you may be required to show that you can operate a boat. It takes most of the day and if you are lucky they will issue your license that day, which looks like a passport and has a maroon cover.

  4. Yes the license is easy to get but I think you also need a health/blood check. The test can take several days to get the results but I then found you can pay a $20 fee and the medical check is waved. Not sure who keeps the $20.

  5. John (or Johns?) Thanks for the invaluable information, I really appreciate it. Sounds like all things lead to talking to the Port Captain in Pedregal and going from there (and reserving a great amount of patience for the process, as in all things administrative in lovely Panama). In an interesting side question, would the same licensing exemption for tourists who want to drive automobiles, apply to tourists who have boat licenses from their country?

  6. No, I don’t think so, but, if you have a USCG license, there is a simple process for the Panama license. You should be able to find a doctor that will give the letter of good health for $20., no exam, unless you do not have some document with your blood type.
    The license is good for 3 years, then you need to do it all over again……

  7. Hey John, awesome information, thanks. I appreciate you reiterating the medical part! I have the equivalent of the USCG license, it’s Canadian, only difference is I’m required to say sorry all the time :-). So I’ll check into that process.
    It’s been great to chat with you.

  8. You do need a work permit to have a business/work in Panama if you are not a citizen of Panama. Other than that, I am not familiar with what licensing regulations Panama has for individual businesses.

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