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Boating Abroad 

If you are cruising the waters of another country under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, that country is quite within its rights to ask you to comply with their rules and regulations, should they wish you to do so. However courteous recognition accorded by one nation to the laws and institutions of another means this is seldom the case. 

The Coastal State may however require visiting vessels to comply with some of its requirements, the most common of which is requiring the skipper to prove his or her competence for that role. Carriage of local publications or regulations is also commonly stipulated. It is important that you are aware of your obligations prior to leaving UK territorial waters.

Law of the Sea and the Coastal State
Which country's regulations apply to your boat will depend on where you are and what you are doing.
Do you have the correct papers ready to satisfy a foreign customs official or do you risk the possibility of your boat being impounded or you incurring significant fines?
The ICC and Evidence of Competence Abroad
Evidence of competence may be needed for cruising the territorial, or internal waters of another country. Find out about the ICC and download translations of RYA certificates.
Customs Formalities
Customs requirements for private individuals who sail their pleasure craft to and from the UK, including customs procedures.
Red Diesel Abroad
Although it is still legal to purchase red diesel for use in pleasure craft in the UK, this is not the case in many other EU countries. This can lead to boaters who have filled their tanks with red
The Regional Arrangement concerning the Radiotelephone Service on Inland Waterways requires that ships coming from states that are not members of the Regional Arrangement and sailing on inland
Holding Tanks
Is a black water holding tank required for boats with toilets when cruising abroad
Courtesy Flag
It is customary, but not obligatory, when visiting the waters of another country, to fly the maritime ensign of that country as a mark of courtesy.
Flying with lifejackets
There are a number of items, classed as dangerous goods, which passengers may not carry on board an aircraft and compressed gas is one of these. The regulations pertaining to these items are complex

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Lending your boat to friends

PDF, 113 KB

Gas Supplies Abroad

PDF, 472 KB

See Also

Firearms Regulations

including Very pistols

Boat Registration


About the UK Ship Register

Elsewhere on the web

Using mobile phones abroad

Advice published by OFCOM

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Travel advice and tips for British travellers on staying safe abroad


Information site for cruising sailors

ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS)

Up to date piracy information

Piracy Reports

from the International Sailing Federation

Guidelines for yachts considering a passage through the Gulf of Aden, Yemeni and Somali waters.

published by ISAF

UKHO Anti-piracy planning chart

Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea

Lonely Planet

Travel information

Camping Gaz availability

Search for your nearest Camping Gaz supplier