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RYA Round-Up of Brexit Issues for British Recreational Boaters Says Thousands Facing ‘Enormous Financial Disruption’

23rd December 2020
RYA Round-Up of Brexit Issues for British Recreational Boaters Says Thousands Facing ‘Enormous Financial Disruption’

The RYA has published a new document outlining where British recreational boaters stand post-Brexit — with a deal still not struck eight days before the transition period ends.

In its end-of-year summary, which details what is currently understood about a raft of issues that will affect recreational boaters from 1 January, the RYA estimates that “up to 33,000 British people who go boating in Europe could be affected by Customs and VAT issues which would be applied to them retrospectively”.

It adds: “These are ordinary people who, as UK nationals and residents, have followed the rules and utilised freedoms that were available to them from the UK’s membership of the EU.

The document hits out at “inconsistent advice” from MH Revenue & Customs over the last two years — and says late-arriving clarity meant “insufficient time” for affected boat owners to qualify for Returned Goods Relief (RGR), leaving many liable to “double taxation”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the latest advice from HMRC is for boat owners to carry proof of their vessel’s VAT-paid status at all times — a situation that could be particularly onerous for those who’ve built their own boat.

“At the moment many thousands of British boat owners are facing enormous personal and financial disruption to their lives despite adhering to the law of their country at that time. In many instances, it may even force them to sell their boat,” it states.

The summary also covers Schengen Area rules and new border control regimes both in the UK and the EU’s maritime countries, as well as the changing situation for recognised training centres and instructors working in the EU.

“We have all followed the latest drama of the trade deal negotiations on the daily news recently, but the reality is that sectoral issues have not featured in the high-level discussions involving politicians and negotiators on both sides,” RYA director of external affairs Howard Pridding says.

“That is why the RYA has endeavoured to seek answers from Government officials on the key issues for boaters. As 2020 draws to a close, we have put all that we know together in one document on our website.

“The early months of 2021 are going to deliver uncertainty and many challenges as we enter a post-Brexit era. The RYA Government Affairs Team will be continuing to represent members’ interests and strive to find the clarity that is currently lacking in many areas and we will keep members informed of developments through our website and RYA social media channels.”

Published in Cruising
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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