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Preparations for Brexit in Brittany

by Peta Stuart-Hunt 16 Oct 2019 10:20 UTC
Vannes Marina, the HQ of La Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. © Judith Grimwade

Brexit will have a big impact on cruising sailors, introducing more bureaucracy and administrative burdens, particularly for cruising sailors who sail for extended periods of time in EU countries.

Two of the most important changes that have been identified by the Cruising Association's Regulations and Technical Services Group (RATS) relate to the need for travel visas and the possibility of being required to pay additional VAT to keep a boat in an EU country. Post-Brexit, UK citizens will only have the right to travel in a Schengen country visa-free for no more than 90 days in any 180-day period.

VAT is a major issue as boats that are located in the UK on Brexit day will lose their EU VAT-paid status, whereas boats which are located in the EU 27 on Brexit day will retain their EU VAT-paid status. It will therefore be important for owners of yachts that are kept in an EU country to have evidence to show where the yacht was located on Brexit day.

CA Biscay Section takes the initiative

In preparation for the UK leaving the European Union, the Cruising Association's Biscay Section has been liaising with the main company operating marinas on the coast of South Brittany - La Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan (LCPM).

Judith Grimwade, Section Secretary of the CA's Biscay Section, has been working with Soizic Dubois, a representative of LCPM. LCPM has agreed the content of a letter that the marinas within the network of LCPM will issue to berth holders confirming that their boat was indeed in EU waters before and on Brexit day so that their VAT (TVA in France) status can be confirmed.

In addition, in recognition that many UK residents spend more than 90 days in any 180 in France, the LCPM has also agreed that owners with annual contracts within the group may also use their marina address should they wish to apply for French Residency (Carte de Séjour). This will permit stays of more than 90 days in any 180 days in France. There are other requirements that have to be fulfilled for a successful application.

Drafts of both documents have been made available to the CA for the use by other marinas in the EU, should local laws permit similar arrangements.

Judith Grimwade says,"We welcome the support given on this matter by La Compagnie des Ports du Morbihan. The friendship of the sea will become even more important in the days to come."

Roger Bickerstaff, the CA RATS member working on post-Brexit VAT issues, commented: "It's very good news that the Biscay Section is taking forward these issues in a practical way. There are a great many cruising sailors on the French coast and elsewhere in the EU that could be severely impacted by Brexit. The more that organisations such as the CA can do to assist, the better."

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