Sailors can now check in to Schengen zone in 53 French marinas rather than having to use official Ports of Entry

Sailors planning to cross the Channel to France this summer should have a much easier time checking in and out, thanks to changes introduced on 1 June 2024.

Yachts arriving in France from outside the EU’s Schengen zone can now clear customs in one of 53 marinas. These are not official ports of entry, but have been given authority to check boats in and out of the zone by French customs authority.

New protocal marinas

The marinas are: Anglet, Antibes, Arcachon, Barneville Carteret, Binic, Calais, Camaret, Cancale, Cannes, Cap Breton, Cap d’Ail, Carentan, Cherbourg, Concarneau, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Deauville, Dielette, Dieppe, Dinan, Dinard, Dives-sur-Mer, Douarnenez, Dunkerque, Fécamp, Grandcamps Maisy, Gravelines, Honfleur, Hyères, Isigny sur Mer, La Rochelle, La Trinité sur Mer, La vicomté sur Rance, L’AberWrac’h, Larmor-Baden, Le Conquet, Le Havre, Lézardrieux, Marseille, Morlaix, Paimpol, Perros-Guirec, Plouër-sur-Rance, Pontrieux, Port en Bessin, Port Saint Louis du Rhône, Port-Bail-sur-Mer, Quiberon, Saint Briac, Saint Jacut de la mer, Saint Suliac, Saint Vaast la Hougue, Saint Valery en Caux, Saint-Cast le Guildo, Saint-Malo, Saint-Quay Portrieux, Saint-Raphaël, Saint-Tropez, Sanary-sur-mer, Sète, Trébeurden, Tréguier.

The French authorities have all signed a national protocol of cooperation facilitating 

the arrival of sailors arriving from abroad. The Schengen border control’ states that frontiers can be passed through at specific passage points (PPF – points de passage frontaliers) at fixed opening times only. 

‘This protocol is the fruit of much hard work undertaken by the FFPP and its administrators. I wish to thank the very constructive approach carried out by the DGDDI and the DNPAF who within a complex geopolitical  situation  listened  with  care  and  attention  to  the  concerns  expressed  by  the  harbour authorities,’ said Michaël Quernez, President of the French Federation of Marinas (FFPP – La fédération française des ports de plaisance).

‘Effectively, many sailors, notably the English, in a post-Brexit world, were no longer coming to France, nor indeed were French sailors visiting the UK. This situation meant there was a huge drop in visitors to our ports and our shoreline. This present protocol has in a robust and pragmatic manner eased the entry and departure of sailors within the Schengen countries. It shows a strong commitment by the harbour authorities and the FFPP who have worked to ensure this protocol will last.’ 

 The three authorities established a more robust platform in order to ease communication and information flow (including follow up), granting 53 marinas – non-PPF ports – permission to welcome boats coming from abroad. 

Arrivals in France proceedure

The yachts must follow the following procedures, the authorities announced: 

– the persons present on board the boat must (1) inform the Harbour authority before arrival and (2) be authorised to arrive at said port

– the persons must hand in the specific form, giving details of the persons on board as well as the technical characteristics of the boat. This information must be given to the Harbour authority 24 hours before arrival when the trip is less than 24 hours long, and at the latest when the boat departs from a port which is outside of Schengen countries. The port authority will immediately transmit such information to the designated PPF port. 

Within the framework of this protocol, the marinas concerned will undertake to send all such information concerning the persons aboard wishing to enter French territory to the border authorities. Carrying out such checks on people at borders – itself a fundamental mission –  falls within the exclusive domain of the specifically designated border guard, namely the services of DNPAF and DGDDI. This protocol does not concern French overseas territories who are not concerned by the Schengen agreement. 

Pleasure vessels to and from the UK

Vessels of any nationality sailing from and to the UK still need to inform UK Border Force and HMRC that they are leaving or arriving in the country in a pleasure craft using either the online Pleasure Craft Report form or the by email using an Excel sPCR template form . At the time of publication (1330 Monday 3 June 2024, the online PCR form was not working and sailors are required to download, complete and return an eC1331 form in its place).

Vessels returning to the UK can submit a report using the same form, or can call National Yachtline on 0300 123 2012. Sailors should also call this number at the earliest opportunity if their plans have changed for any reason.

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