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European Boating Association Discusses 'Brexit'

26th April 2018
 The General Assembly meeting of the European Boating Association The General Assembly meeting of the European Boating Association

At a recent General Assembly of the European Boating Association, attended by Irish Sailing, the issue of Brexit was discussed. Due to a lack of a proper registration system in Ireland for recreational craft, a large number of Irish craft are registered in the UK. This and many other such implications of the British exit from the EU were discussed at the Ghent meeting.

At its last General Assembly in Stockholm the EBA received a report from the EBA Secretary on the potential impact of Brexit on recreational boating (EBA-2017-GA2-Stockolm Minutes Item 18). This report was given from the UK’s perspective, however the potential impact of Brexit is not limited to UK boaters. 

The Stockholm GA was briefed on two key areas, Border Controls and Status of Union Goods.

Border Controls

It is highly likely that the UK will introduced greater control of its border once the UK has left the EU. The UK will want to track people entering and leaving the UK, to a greater extent than it does currently. This will almost certainly include tracking of General Maritime cross border movements which includes recreational craft. A system by which recreational boaters report advanced voyage data for the vessel and people planning to enter or leave the UK is anticipated. This system will apply to all recreational boaters and not just UK boaters.

Status of Union Goods

Freedom of movement throughout the European Union is a basic principal of the European Union which applies to recreational boats which have the customs status of Union goods. In order for a boat to have the customs status of Union goods VAT must be accounted for and if the boat has been imported any applicable customs duty must also have been paid. The owner is then able to move the boat freely through the EU.

VAT is accounted for and import duty (if applicable) is paid in the EU country in which it becomes due. This may be different to the vessel’s flag state and/or the nationalities of the vessel’s owners. At present it is unclear whether the country in which the VAT was accounted for and or import duty (if applicable) was paid will be of importance when determining whether the vessel will have the Status of Union Goods after Brexit.

This is clearly a major issue for UK boat owners, but it is also has the potential to be a problem for boats owners of other nationalities. If the VAT was accounted for and or import duty (if applicable) was paid in the UK will that vessel still have the status of Union Goods after Brexit?

Marked Diesel – Ireland will be the only EU country still using marked diesel

Other Brexit issues discussed:

Marked Diesel – Ireland will be the only EU country still using marked diesel

Cross Recognition of Competency Certs – perhaps more relevant to commercial qualifications, as ICC is the common standard now for pleasure craft

Recreational Craft Directive

Invasive Species – UK will be able to make their own rules

Registration of Boats – due to a lack of a proper registration system in IRL for recreational craft, a large number of IRL craft are registered in the UK.

EBA members have agreed to raise the issue with their own Governments.

European Boating Association

The European Boating Association is a civil, not for profit association of recreational boat users’ organisations, founded in 1982, and established as an Unincorporated Association whose members agree to be governed by its constitution. The EBA currently comprises 28 organisations from 18 European states, which collectively represent in excess of 1.5 million recreational boaters and an estimated 20 million active participants.

The purpose of the EBA is to represent the mutually agreed common interests of national recreational boat users’ organisations in Europe, and in particular to:

  • Coordinate and develop recreational boating activities in Europe by exchange of information, and action on matters of mutually agreed common interest.
  • Promote the practice of all activities on the water, promoting and exchanging knowledge and experience between recreational boat users’ organisations in Europe.
  • Represent EBA members in environmental, regulatory and technical matters affecting their safe enjoyment of recreational boating activities on the water.
  • Encourage the safe, unhampered and environmentally sustainable use of recreational boats on all European waters.
  • Provide the link between the European institutions and EBA Members for consultation and information on proposed EU directives and regulations.
  • Provide the link between other relevant global and regional organisations and EBA Members.
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