Boating licenses and 40-horsepower outboards, let’s get clarity


Give or treat yourself to a subscription to Boats in Motion print + digital and for only 39 euros a year you get the magazine at home plus read it on your PC, smartphone and tablet. With a sea of advantages.

After the fuss that the Striscia la Notizia report on the case of licenses for driving 40-horsepower outboards has passed, let’s shed some light.

We respond to those who wrote us concerned e-mails: it is not true that a license will be required for all engines of that displacement; on the contrary, it is only one model specifically that is being penalized. How is this possible? We anticipate that it is all “because of” a little magic word.

Let’s start with the differences between the old and the new regulations, which are established by Art. 29 of Legislative Decree “Amendments and Additions to Chapter IV of Title II of Legislative Decree No. 171 of July 18, 2005,” published in the Official Gazette. In this case, action is taken on Article 39.1 of the Boating Code, the one governing boating license requirements.

What did the old legislation say in (b)? That the boat license is mandatory…
…for navigation in inland waters and for navigation in maritime waters within six miles from the coast, when an engine having a displacement of more than 750 cc if two-stroke carbureted, or 1,000 cc if four-stroke carbureted outboard or if direct injection, or 1,300 cc if four-stroke carbureted inboard, or 2,000 cc if diesel cycle, however, with a power output of more than 30 kw or 40.8 hp is installed on board the unit“.

Instead, here is the text of the new one, which went into effect last Feb. 13:
…For navigation in inland waters and for navigation in maritime waters within six miles from the coast, when an engine of more than 750 cc is installed on board the unit if carbureted or fuel-injected two-stroke, or 1,000 cc if carbureted or fuel-injected four-stroke outboard, or 1,300 cc if carbureted or fuel-injected four-stroke inboard, or 2,000 cc if non-supercharged diesel cycle, or 1,300 cc if supercharged diesel cycle, however, with power output greater than 30 kW or 40.8 hp“.

As you may have noticed, the addition of the word “fuel injection” changes the game as far as two-strokes are concerned: there are not many outboard models with these features, but there is a famous one. It is the Evinrude e-Tec 40 hp, which is direct-injected and knows some popularity in the boating scene. In theory, based on the new legislation it would be outlawed.

A problem for that penalizes Evinrude but especially the owners of the engine in question, as a reader testified in the Journal of Sailing:

“…The engine in question is only one and only from one manufacturer (Evinrude 40 hp e-tec), although it has been on the market for years now this legislation penalizes all those who own it and do not have a license… in fact until a few months ago driving was “free”.
I purchased said engine a few days before this regulatory change came out..I do not have a license like the vast majority of those who have owned it perhaps for years. Conclusion. boat in the yard waiting for a reasonable about-face…. I hope this “clarification” of mine will be useful x bring things back to the way they were until recently…”



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you already a subscriber?

Sign up for our Newsletter

Join the Sailing Newspaper Club

Powerboats, its stories, from small open to motoryachts. Sign up now for our free newsletter and receive the best news selected by the editorial staff each week. Enter your email below, agree to the Privacy Policy and click the “sign me up” button.

Once you click on the button below check your mailbox



You may also be interested in.