The Cruising Association has carried out research to try and find out what sailors can expect when sailing in EU countries after Brexit

As Brexit negotiations continue between the British government and the EU, the Cruising Association (CA) has been trying to find out how leaving the European Union (EU) will impact on British yachts.

The CA’s newly released research suggests that cruising in EU countries after Brexit could end up costing sailors more and involve more paperwork.

Although the organisation is keen to stress that nothing has yet been agreed, it says there is a possibility that British cruisers will need a Schengen visa.

Currently, British yachts are free to move in and out of any EU country.

“The Schengen region includes 25 countries including most EU member countries and a Schengen visa allows travellers to gain access to all 25 countries. Travelling within the region is similar to travelling among states in the U.S,” explained the CA, which has held discussions with European Commission in Brussel and the Embassies of Spain and Germany.

“There is a strong expectation that a Schengen visa would need to be obtained from the first Schengen country to be visited, ie if coast-hopping to the Baltic, the visa would be obtained from France if that is your first port of call on the way.”

Fees are charged for visas by all Schengen countries but the CA said there are many visa waiver arrangements which constantly change and no guidance can be given.

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It said that primarily, the Schengen system requires all non-Schengen visitors to have a visa prior to arrival but each Schengen country has been permitted to make bi-lateral agreements with third-party countries to void or ease the requirement.

It is because of such an agreement between the UK and the EU that UK citizens do not require a visa at present.

Some Schengen countries have formal Ports of Entry which are the only ones which may be used by visitors for entry or exit from them, although once entered there is usually freedom of movement along the whole coastline.   This matter is under consideration however by several countries and may well be changed before or after Brexit.

The CA spokesperson further suggested: “A revised form of C1331 (this is the form detailing all goods taken into and out of each country), which may well be more onerous, will be required for all recreational craft movements to and from the UK.

“I suspect HMRC will take a greater interest in the stores we bring back. Overseas boat owners will make it an easier entry for themselves if they get copies of the C1331 before starting out for the UK.”