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10 tips to become a Recreational Boat Pattern (PER)

  • Alvaro G
By Álvaro García
2 September, 2019
In order to navigate in Spain it is necessary to have the corresponding permit according to current regulations. The "PER" or title of Recreational Boat Patron, is the most popular and demanded nautical qualification since it is the one that will allow us to carry larger vessels without having to obtain a previous qualification. Every year thousands of people get this nautical title.

If you are thinking of becoming a Recreational Boat Patron, in this article we are going to give you 10 basic tips so you can get it in the best possible way.
Table of Contents
To show
  • 1. What is PER? Attributions of the title and optional ratings
  • 2. Are you sure you need PER? Know the alternatives to PER before deciding.
  • 3. What requirements do you have to meet to get the PER?
  • 4. Your first goal. Choose the date to examine yourself and do not wait to enroll.
  • 5. Do I prepare the PER test at a school or do I study it for free?
  • 6. Types of courses to obtain the PER
  • 7. What are the keys to pass the PER test?
  • 8. When should PER practice be done?
  • 9. Will PER help me navigate outside of Spain?
  • 10. What are the advantages of booking the PER course in Sailwiz?

1. What is PER? Attributions of the title and optional ratings

The title of Patron of Recreational Boats, PER, is a Spanish nautical qualification that allows to take pleasure boats and that is regulated by a royal decree that establishes the different recreational titles that are in Spain.

With the PER it is possible to take boats during the day and night, up to 15 meters in length, moving a maximum of 12 miles from the coast or sailing between islands of the Balearic or Canary Islands. It will also allow us to carry any type of jet ski.

These attributions may be extended up to 24 meters in length and for the realization of crossings between the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands if optional navigation practices are carried out to obtain this extension of PER attributions .

With the PER we can take motor boats and also sailboats, if we carry out the corresponding sailing qualification practices.

2. Are you sure you need PER? Know the alternatives to PER before deciding.

The title of Recreational Boat Pattern is the option that will give you more attributions (boat length and distance from the coast) of the options available without having any prior knowledge or qualification. Now, there are those who end up opting for a lower degree. Before you get to get the PER, you should at least know the other options.

If your idea is to buy or rent a boat of less than 6 meters and you have no intention of ever sailing at night, you may have more than enough with the Navigation License , formerly known as "the titulin". It is a license that can be obtained in one day and does not require passing any exam.

If you are going to want to sail at night, or you are going to want to move a little further from the coast, the Navigation License allows you only two miles, or you want to take boats a little larger than 6 meters, with the title of Basic Navigation Pattern You can take boats up to 8 meters and sail day and night up to 5 miles from the coast.

In any case, if now or in the future you plan to navigate in larger vessels or at a greater distance, our recommendation is that you start with PER directly, which is what most people do, and in the long run it is cheaper and simple.

And if you want to sail high in boats up to 24 meters you can get the title of Yacht Skipper , which will allow you to move away up to 150 miles from the coast, or you can get the title of Captain of the Yacht , which has no limit and allows you Browse the distance you want. To have the title of Yacht Skipper, you must obtain the PER first, and to obtain the title of Yacht Captain, you will have to obtain the Yacht Skipper title first.

3. What requirements do you have to meet to get the PER?

To obtain PER you must meet a series of requirements. First of all, you must be at least 18 years old on the date you are going to take the theoretical exam and you will have to pass a psychophysical recognition in an authorized center, it is a similar recognition that is requested for the driving license of cars. This recognition will be done at the end, when you have passed the necessary tests and practices, which are:
  • A theoretical test of 45 questions in which you can fail a maximum of 13 questions of the total. You also cannot get more than 2 wrong of the 5 questions on the topic of Beaconing, you cannot have more than 5 failures in the 10 questions on the subject of Regulation, and you cannot have more than 2 failures of the 4 questions on navigation charts.
  • You must perform basic safety and navigation practices , which are often called "Motor PER practices". They are named this way to differentiate them from the practices of qualification to sail. These practices consist of 16 hours and are carried out in 4 departures of 4 hours each. Normally they are done in two days.
  • You must also take the short range radio operator (ROCA) course, which consists of a theoretical class of 4 hours and two practical radiocommunication sessions of 4 hours each.

Once all these requirements have been exceeded and with the certificates that accredit you, you can apply for your title of Patron of Recreational Boats. You can do two more practices, separately or in combination, that will allow you to expand the powers of the PER:
  • If you want to take sailing boats, you must carry out sailing practices of 16 hours, which consist of 4 sessions of 4 hours each and are usually done in two days.
  • If you want to take boats of up to 24 meters and be able to make navigations between the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, you must carry out a practice in crossing that consists of 24 hours in a row sailing, without touching port.

The two previous practices (Sailing and extension of attributions) can be carried out jointly in a journey of 48 consecutive hours, without touching port during all the navigation.

4. Your first goal. Choose the date to examine yourself and do not wait to enroll.

The best way to "force" yourself to prepare the theoretical exam is to start enrolling in the exam. There are several calls for PER exams per year that establish the competent administrations in each autonomous community. You can check the official dates of all Spain on the website www.examenesdenautica.com , from where you can also register on the date that interests you.

Once you have enrolled, plan your study and try to reserve time every week to test each topic. Try to reserve a little more time the last two weeks before the exam to do all the mock exams you can.

The agenda of the PER is not very complicated, it requires some time to assimilate it, but it is available to anyone. It is important that you practice enough tests because sometimes there are somewhat complicated questions and even if you know the agenda some statements can be confusing.

As to where to examine you, it is common to find opinions on the Internet about whether the exam is easier in one place or another. The official program is the same throughout the country and our recommendation is not to get carried away by these opinions since it is enough that you pay attention to it so that in our summons the court will put a more difficult examination than usual. It is best to enroll in the one that best suits us by date and location and prepare it well.

5. Do I prepare the PER test at a school or do I study it for free?

This is a typical question and the answer is "It depends". Our advice is to analyze the time you have and your ability to study. The advantage of attending a school is that they set a pace for you to get ready for the exam, the teachers know where students fail the most and guide you the best, and it is always easier to study together with other classmates.

The fundamental advantage of studying it for free is that you will save the money of the theoretical classes and if you are used to studying you can prepare it on your own. Even preparing it for free, you can find online courses at interesting prices to have the support of a remote teacher and content to prepare the exam more advanced than a simple manual.

If you have doubts you can always start preparing for it on your own by reading a book and if you see that you need more help, sign up for a school.

6. Types of courses to obtain the PER

Nautical schools offer different modalities of theoretical courses to prepare the PER exam. These are some of the most common:
  • PER face-to-face courses : These are the most common courses, which are usually taught in the school classroom at different times throughout the week. The duration of these courses can be from four to nine weeks, depending on the class hours taught each week.
  • PER intensive courses: These are courses where training is concentrated in a few days, for example on a weekend from Friday to Sunday. Students receive all training for two or three days in a row, teaching up to 8 hours a day.
  • On- board PER courses: "On-board" courses consist of a modality that combines theory with practice aboard a school ship. It has the appeal that the theoretical training is given on the same boat and the course fee usually includes accommodation on board. They usually last between 5 and 7 days.
  • Online PER courses : There is the possibility to prepare for the Recreational Vessel Skipper exam at a distance and most schools use online platforms or consultations through electronic messaging.
  • Home PER courses : If you want a personalized exam preparation, we can always call to request the possibility of a teacher traveling to your office or home.
  • PER courses for groups or companies : It is also common to gather a group of colleagues in the company and request that we organize the course in the offices of our company or club.

7. What are the keys to pass the PER test?

The PER test is not very complicated to pass, but it requires some study time. Many of those who start are afraid of navigation chart exercises, thinking that they will be complex mathematical problems. The truth is that to understand the mechanics of these exercises you just have to know how to add and subtract. Of the four exercises that are on the card, it is enough to have two good to overcome that block. Therefore, letters are not the biggest problem.

The key is usually to pay close attention to the 15 questions of Beaconing and Regulation, in which we can only commit a maximum of 7 failures between the two. Those who pass the theoretical PER test are ofte overcome the failures allowed in this block. And this part of the agenda is, in fact, the most unfriendly part of the exam, since it will require a little more effort to memorize. But in any case, it is nothing that is not possible for anyone.

Although there is more than enough time to complete the exam, when taking the exam it is best to start by answering the questions of the elimination blocks at the beginning.

8. When should PER practice be done?

In the past, the content of the theoretical exam was common with some of the exercises that were carried out in the practices and therefore it was convenient to do the practices before the exam, since they served as preparation.

Currently the theoretical exam has a smaller program and everything that is done in the practice is not asked in the exam, so it is no longer as enticing to do the practice before the exam, although if you decide to do so, we can always take advantage of this time to consult any questions with the instructor.

The legislation says that between the date of the approved exam and the practices can be no more than 24 months apart, and you can complete them in whichever order you want.

9. Will PER help me navigate outside of Spain?

Currently, there is no international legislation that recognizes Spanish nautical titles abroad. In practice there are usually no problems and most of the surrounding countries allow Spaniards to sail with the nautical titles of Spain and the vast majority of rental agencies will not hold you back from renting a boat.

If you want to have a degree with more international recognition, it is advisable to take a course from a school approved by the Royal Yachting Association, which is the body that issues certificates of nautical courses with more international recognition.

10. What are the advantages of booking the PER course in Sailwiz?

Sailwiz selects the best recreational sailing schools in Spain. The advantages of booking your course in Sailwiz are:
  • Guaranteed minimum price . Schools are required to match their best offer at Sailwiz.com
  • Reimbursement for other plans . By booking your course in Sailwiz you will receive miles that you can earn in future reservations of other plans to sail through Sailwiz
  • Quick reservation : You can do the whole process online, without having to go to school.
  • Your money safe . If the school cancels the course or practice due to lack of students or bad weather Sailwiz reimburses you 100% without having to fight with the school for reimbursement.
  • Nautical schools of prestige . We only work with certified nautical schools and all users receive an email to assess the course or practice they carry out for the knowledge of the other users of the platform.
  • Alvaro G
    Álvaro García
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