You & Brexit

Published: 23 November 20


The RYA have continued working and engaging with the relevant government departments to highlight concerns that could directly affect the recreational boating community and small commercial vessel industry.

The YBDSA will be hosting a Winter Webinar on the topic of Brexit on 15th December. The Webinar will explain how these changes will affect you and your business. The keynote speaker for this event will be Ross Wombwell, Technical Director at the British Marine – to set the scene about what he knows from the ongoing negotiations in terms of RCD, Cabotage and VAT Paid. The session will end with an open Q&A where members are encouraged to ask questions and discuss between them with guidance from Mr Wombwell on how they can adapt to these changes. Book your space for this webinar here.

In response to some Frequently Asked Questions from the boating sector the RYA have created responses to help answer some of these concerns. 

*Article correct as of 23/11 - To find out the latest changes please visit RYA's notice *

The first is in response to whether or not you would still be able you rely on the International Certificate for operations of Pleasure Craft (ICC) and other RYA certificates when boating In and around the EU27?

To answer they have stated that “Evidence of Competence for recreational boating is generally a matter for domestic/national legislation.”  In order to comply with the legislation of the country a vessel must have registration (flag state), wherever in the world you are.

As detailed in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea your vessel can also be asked to comply with additional maritime legislation of the visited country (the Coastal Sate)  

For non-professional use of RYA Certificates - Where the ICC is not an EU document and it is issued under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Inland Transport Committee Working Party on Inland Water Transport Resolution 40, it details how and to whom the ICC may be issued. The UK Government has accepted this resolution 40 and has authorised the RYA to issue the ICC on its behalf.

Using Certificates professionally - RYA professional qualifications (e.g. commercially endorsed certificates of competence) are currently accepted by the UK Government for on UK-Flagged commercial yachts however these are not and ‘never have been’ STCW- compliant certificates.

“As such, RYA professional qualifications are not subject to the mutual-recognition mechanism envisaged in the STCW convention and do not fall within the scope of the EU Directive on the mutual recognition of seafarers’ certificates issued by member states which in particular states that “Every Member State shall accept [STCW] certificates of proficiency and documentary evidence issued by another Member State, or under its authority, in hard copy or in digital format, for the purpose of allowing seafarers to serve on ships flying its flag”.

If you’re wondering if it matters where your boat is lying at 11pm UTC on 31 December 2020 – Yes it does. it is recommended that you obtain and retain documentation which can be used to demonstrate your vessels location at the time the Brexit transition period ends.

If it’s lying in Great Britain at 11pm UTC ON 31 December 2020 – once the transition period ends GB will no longer be a part of the customs territory of the EU.

For Northern Ireland, although it will be part of UK customs territory the implementations of the protocol are still under negation, therefore at this time, the RYA are not able to provide advice on the future of the status of boats lying in Northern Ireland when the transition period ends.

Recreational boats lying in Great Britain at the end of the transition period will cease to be in free circulations in the customs territory of the EU. They will no longer have Union status and will be treated by the UK as ‘Domestic Goods’.

Boats lying in the remaining EU27 at 11pm UTC on 31 December 2020 – If your boat is in free circulation i.e. has union status and is lying in the EU 27 after the transition period ends, it will remain in free circulation for as long as it remains in the EU27 and as long as you can provide evidence that it was lying in the EU27. It is important that you obtain and retain any documentation which can demonstrate the vessels location when this transition period ends.

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