How to get the latest advice on Brexit for boat owners from the Royal Yachting Association, Cruising Association, the PBO forum and elsewhere...

What does 2021 and beyond hold for British boat owners interested in sailing in EU waters? There are multiple permutations, exceptions, caveats and potential changes still to come, but broadly speaking, UK boats are welcome as visitors, but long-term cruising will be impacted so careful planning will be required to ensure you don’t fall foul of the UK or EU Customs regulations.

Make sense? Probably not, so here’s a lot more detail:

RYA publishes: ‘Brexit – What happens next?’

The Royal Yachting Association has put together an extremely diligent, legalistic and constantly updated page of information covering the ‘what ifs’. Get your small-print glasses on and be prepared to take notes!

Brexit – What happens next? from

Topics covered specifically include:

· Recreational boating after the end of the transition period
· What is the RYA doing on behalf of recreational boaters?
· Frequently asked questions
· Will I still be able to rely on my ICC and other RYA certificates when boating in the EU27?
· Does it matter where my boat is lying at 11pm UTC on 31 December 2020?
· Arriving in the UK from abroad from 1 January 2021.
· Taking your boat to the EU27 from 1 January 2021
· Future validity in the EU27 of documents issued by HMRC
· Immigration and visas for travel to the EU27 after the end of the transition period.
· Further information

Cruising Association publishes ‘Brexit issues for cruisers’

On 5 December the Cruising Association (CA) held an online webinar entitled ‘Brexit Issues for Cruisers’, which they have now made publicly available on Youtube.

The webinar programme focuses on the main difficulties facing cruising sailors as a result of Brexit:

  • People issues (including immigration and Schengen 90 days): Trevor Page
  • Vessel issues (including VAT): Roger Bickerstaff

But there is a disclaimer because events are constantly changing: ‘Any of the detail provided may be superseded at any time and the video or PDF of the slide presentation will not be updated to reflect any changes. The Cruising Association, its employees, contributors and relevant members shall not be liable for any loss, damage or inconvenience of any kind howsoever arising in connection with the use of such advice, save to the extent required by applicable law.’

A PDF of the presentation slides.

Yachting Monthly: ‘How to cruise Europe after Brexit’

Perhaps the most user-friendly and easily digested package comes from our sister publication Yachting Monthly. Editor Theo Stocker commissioned Rod and Lu Heikell, authors of numerous pilot guides, to investigate some of the most common scenarios being faced by UK boat owners.

This interesting excerpt caught our attention:

Q. I bought my boat in the UK and have a VAT receipt. My boat is currently in Greece, where it has been for 10 years. I had planned to bring the boat back to the UK to keep or sell in the next few years. What should I do?

A. You have until 31 December 2021 to get your boat back to the UK.

If you return after this date, you will be liable to pay VAT again, based on a new valuation of your boat.

However, if your boat remains in Greece through 31 December 2020, it will be deemed to be EU VAT paid.

If you then return the boat to the UK before 31 December 2021 you can claim RGR and retain your UK VAT paid status.

It would seem in this scenario that you retain both EU and UK tax paid status.

Read Yachting Monthly: How to cruise Europe after Brexit

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