Auxiliary boats moored in Puerto Pollensa. | Elena Ballestero

Cristina Barahona, the manager of PortsIB, the Balearic government's ports authority, admits that there is a general problem with moorings for boat hire firms.

"The charter business has grown a great deal in recent years and is getting bigger and bigger. The directorate for maritime transport only requires a declaration of responsibility and not a mooring." She explains that inspections have increased to verify conditions for this declaration, e.g. insurance, but this declaration isn't the issue for operators - not having a mooring is, which brings with it the risk of being fined between 6,000 and 30,000 euros.

What happens is that boats are anchored in unauthorised areas to allow people to get on and off, and so operators are asking the regional government - PortsIB - to make available specific spaces for the loading and unloading of passengers, given the current situation with waiting lists for moorings.

Puerto Andratx currently has the longest waiting list for moorings for this type of vessel - 32 - and is followed by Sant Antoni de Portmany in Ibiza with 29, Puerto Pollensa with 27 and Ciutadella in Minorca also with 27.

In Puerto Pollensa, one of those affected, Josep Pons, is critical of the management of moorings: "All the auxiliary vessels of boats anchored in the bay are crowded there." He argues that there are two docks managed by PortsIB "which could provide us with an adequate space to carry out our activity". Barahona says, however, that the authority has no plan to do this, as these are not areas designed for commercial activity.