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Sailing to and from the UK

Following the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, owners of recreational pleasure craft (non-commercial) who sail their craft to and from the United Kingdom (including the Channel Islands) must notify the UK border authorities upon their first arrival into a UK port.

Before leaving the UK (which includes going to the Channel Islands), you must advise the Border Force of your intentions by posting form C1331 (the address it must be posted to can be found on the form).

If you are arriving from outside the UK (and this includes the Channel Islands) you must fly the ‘Q’ flag, where it can readily be seen, as soon as you enter UK waters (the 12 mile limit, where another country or territorial waters have been visited).The flag must not be taken down until you have finished reporting to the customs authorities. Failure to comply will make you liable to a penalty.

When arriving direct from outside the UK you must phone the National Yachtline on 0300 123 2012. You will need to inform the Yachtline if any of the following apply:

  • UK VAT has not been paid on the vessel
  • you have on board goods which are to be treated as surplus stores as per Notice 69A.
  • you have any prohibited or restricted goods
  • there is any notifiable illness on board
  • there are any people on board who need immigration clearance
  • any repairs or modifications, other than running repairs, have been carried out since the vessel last left the UK
  • you have any goods for personal use on which you need to declare and pay UK tax or duty and cannot do so via the online service.

For further information, please view the Government Notice.

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