We have received a report from a boater who has been fined €500 for having traces of red diesel in his yacht’s fuel tank following an inspection by Belgian Customs in Nieuwpoort.

Belgian Customs boarded the UK flagged boat at the KYCN Marina and in addition to checking paperwork examined a sample of fuel, which was found to contain traces of red diesel.

Although it is still legal to purchase red diesel for use in pleasure craft in the UK, it is unlawful in Belgium to use red diesel for propelling a private pleasure craft.

Boating in Belgian waters with marked 'red' diesel in your fuel tanks in 2010 and 2011 put you at risk of receiving a significant fine. The Belgian Authorities then appeared to have become more tolerant of UK boaters using red diesel and the risk of being fined seemed to have reduced.  We received a report in May 2016 which suggested that the Belgian Authorities were hardening, however no reports of fines were received until now.

At present we do not know whether this fine was an isolated incident or if it is a signal that the Belgian authorities are taking a tougher approach towards UK flagged boats. In order to establish a fuller picture of the situation, we would urge anyone who is fined in Belgium for having red diesel in their tanks to email boating.abroad@rya.org.uk giving as much detail as possible.

Update:

Following on from this request we have been notified that a group of three boats were each fined €500 in July 2017 in Nieuwpoort and in Oostende two yachts were fined €750 and one yacht was fined €500 also in July 2017. 

Read more advice about red diesel abroad.