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Brexit

The outcome of the referendum on EU membership is likely to have a number of implications for RYA members and the boating community.

We are working hard to ensure that Government understands and takes account of the activities of our members as it negotiates the UK’s exit position. We are continuing our work with our member committees, other marine bodies and the Government to understand the impact of Brexit on recreational boating. As such, we have developed a series of position statements which are forming part of the UK’s negotiations.

In particular, we are concerned about what the Brexit related bills may mean for border controls, time limits on duration of stay both for individuals and vessels wishing to visit Europe, the future ability of recreational craft and their contents to travel freely throughout Europe without customs restrictions, and the ability of RYA qualification-holders to work in the EU territory.

You’ll find more detailed information on our Brexit positions in the tabs below.

Border controls

The RYA is representing boating interests as negotiations get underway on the shape of future border controls for recreational boats entering or leaving the UK.

The RYA has worked with the UK Government over many years to ensure that any plans it may propose for greater control of the UK sea border take account of recreational boating activity.

As the Government clarifies its intentions for after the UK leaves the European Union, the RYA will continue to engage with Ministers and officials to minimise any adverse impact or unintended consequences for recreational boaters and to identify opportunities for improvement.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • A system that is simple to understand and to comply with irrespective of whether recreational boaters are entering or leaving UK territorial waters, should the Government choose to enhance controls at the UK sea border

The RYA has successfully

  • Argued that, to be effective, any sea border security programme must be simple and have the support of recreational boaters and so needs to embrace rather than alienate the recreational boating community.

The RYA position

The RYA believes that any future system of border control should not place unduly onerous or disproportionate restrictions on recreational boaters’ freedom of navigation.

Currently

The RYA is maintaining its regular dialogue with the Home Office and Border Force, as well as other relevant departments and agencies, to ensure that its position is taken into account by policy-makers.

Eligibility of UK Citizens holding RYA Qualifications to work in EU Member States Post-Brexit

The RYA seeks to maintain the eligibility of UK citizens holding RYA qualifications to work in EU member states post-Brexit.

As the Government clarifies its intentions for the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union the RYA will continue to engage with Ministers and officials to minimise any adverse impact on, or unintended consequences for, the eligibility of UK citizens holding RYA qualifications to work in EU member states.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • Minimal additional regulatory or administrative restrictions on the eligibility of UK citizens holding RYA qualifications to work in EU member states, post-Brexit.

The RYA has successfully

  • Developed the quality, reputation and scope of RYA training schemes such that UK citizens who hold RYA qualifications are in demand to work in the recreational boating sector throughout the European Union.

The RYA position

The RYA believes that UK citizens holding RYA qualifications who wish to work in, or to visit on business, EU member states should continue to be able to do so, post-Brexit, with minimal additional regulatory or administrative restrictions.

Currently

The RYA is developing stronger links with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Exiting the European Union, as well as other relevant departments and agencies, to ensure that its position is taken into account by policy-makers.

Union Goods status for recreational boats

The RYA wants recreational boats to retain Union Goods status once the UK has left the EU.

The RYA has an important role to play in working with the UK Government to ensure that it understands the impact that loss of Union Goods status would have on UK recreational boating activity particularly for those who wish to visit or base their boats on EU waters.

The ability for recreational boats together with their equipment and other contents to navigate free of customs procedures and time limits throughout the waters of the European Union is currently dependent on them having Union Goods status.

As the Government clarifies its intentions concerning the UK’s future relationship with the EU VAT and Customs area, the RYA will continue to engage with Ministers and officials to clarify the future status of recreational boats and to minimise any adverse impacts or unintended consequences once the UK leaves the EU.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • Recreational boats that currently have the status of Union Goods are able to retain an equivalent status after the UK leaves the EU, no matter what exit settlement the UK Government negotiates.

The RYA has successfully

  • Encouraged HMRC to assist recreational boaters in evidencing the Union Goods status of their boats by issuing forms T2L.

The RYA position

The RYA believes that recreational boats currently having the status of Union Goods should be subject to minimal fiscal and administrative burdens when navigating within EU waters after the UK leaves the EU.

Currently

The RYA is maintaining its regular dialogue with HMRC, as well as other relevant departments and agencies, to ensure that its position is taken into account by policy-makers.

Use of RYA Instructor Qualifications in EU Member States Post-Brexit

The RYA seeks to maintain the acceptability of RYA instructor qualifications for use in RYA Recognised Training Centres located in EU member states.

As the Government clarifies its intentions for the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union the RYA will continue to engage with Ministers and officials to minimise any adverse impact on, or unintended consequences for, holders of RYA instructor qualifications wishing to instruct at RYA Recognised Training Centres located in EU member states.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • No post-Brexit reduction in the ability of holders of RYA instructor qualifications to instruct within RYA Recognised Training Centres located in EU member states.

The RYA has successfully

  • Developed the quality, reputation and scope of RYA training schemes such that RYA-qualified instructors have access to what is arguably the most extensive recreational boat training network within the European Union.

The RYA position

The RYA believes that holders of RYA instructor qualifications wishing to instruct at RYA Recognised Training Centres located in EU member states should continue to be able to do so, post-Brexit, with minimal additional regulatory or administrative burdens.

Currently

The RYA is developing stronger links with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Exiting the European Union, as well as other relevant departments and agencies, to ensure that its position is taken into account by policy-makers.

Arrangements for UK nationals entering the Schengen area (seasonal cruising)

The RYA seeks an arrangement to enable long-term UK tourists to remain in the Schengen area for at least six months and preferably one year.

The RYA wants to achieve

  • The RYA considers that the period of time for which UK citizens are permitted to visit the Schengen area (and EU citizens to visit the UK) as tourists post-Brexit should be at least six months and preferably one year.

The RYA has successfully

  • Played a leading role in the work of the European Boating Association to ensure that recreational boat tourism forms a key component of the European Commission's coastal tourism strategy.

The RYA position

  • The RYA recognises the Government’s intention to negotiate a new relationship with the EU which enables the UK to control the movement of individuals wishing to enter the UK for the purpose of taking up residence and/or gaining employment. However, the RYA believes that such controls should not serve to hinder the movement of tourists between the UK and the EU.
  • The RYA has no objection to the principle of the UK Government seeking to control the movement of individuals wishing to enter the UK for the purpose of taking up residence and/or gaining employment.
  • However, the RYA would strongly encourage the Government to endeavour to agree with the European Union a reciprocal arrangement whereby UK citizens wishing to visit the Schengen area as tourists post-Brexit may do so for a period of time equivalent to that for which EU citizens will be permitted to visit the UK as tourists.

Currently

In the framework of Schengen intergovernmental cooperation, detailed rules were established concerning the entry and stay of third-country nationals for up to three months in a six-month period. This was done with the aim of ensuring the security of the Schengen area and providing a right to move freely within it, including for third-country nationals. These rules were then further developed and consolidated in the framework of the European Union, following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, and the time period was amended to refer to 90 days in any 180-day period. This time limit contrasts sharply with the normal duration of a UK tourist visa, which is six months for each visit.

Although the UK is not part of the Schengen area, UK citizens are currently EU citizens and are thus not subject to the limit of 90 days in any 180-day period when travelling in other EU member states. Once the UK leaves the EU and UK citizens become third-country nationals, however, UK citizens could become subject to the 90 days in any 180-day period limit imposed by the Schengen Agreement on the duration that an individual tourist may remain in the Schengen area. Although individual member states may grant longer-term visas for specific purposes (e.g. work or study), these purposes generally do not extend to tourism.

While the limit of 90 days in any 180-day period might have been appropriate when the Schengen area comprised only five countries, the Schengen area now extends to more than 25 countries. As such, tourists may have perfectly legitimate reasons for remaining in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in a given 180-day period without being considered to be “immigrants”. They do not want and/or do not need to reside in a particular member state for longer than three months but they may wish to remain in the Schengen area as a whole for in excess of this period.

A significant number of individuals falling within this description of long-term tourist wish to tour the Schengen area by boat. Many UK recreational boaters spend extended periods of time voyaging in EU waters, often in their retirement or having taken sabbatical leave.

Long-term tourists generally make a significant contribution towards the local economies of the places that they visit and this certainly the case for recreational boaters. Recreational boat tourism forms a key component of the European Commission’s coastal tourism strategy.

The European Commission recognised the difficulty that the Schengen Agreement caused to long-term tourists as long ago as 2001 and its most recent attempt to address the problem was a proposed Regulation published for consultation in April 2014. The Commission’s proposal would have established a touring visa to enable long-term tourists to remain in the Schengen area for a period of up to one year (renewable for a further period of one year) but, in the event, the Commission’s proposal was not progressed.

Latest Updates

RYA reflects on Government’s Brexit White Paper

What will the future relationship between the UK and the EU mean for recreational boating? ... read more (July 2018)

Further details on the UK's position on 'end state' relationship with EU post-Brexit expected during the summer

Latest on Brexit and RYA priorities … read more (July 2018)

Brexit: RYA’s main concerns still unresolved

The transition agreement is good news for Britain’s boaters, but unanswered questions about the final deal remain … read more (RYA magazine summer 2018)

MPs welcome the RYA and Basi’s call for seasonal workers

Government recognises contribution made by recreational boating … read more (RYA magazine summer 2018)

Brexit: transition agreement is good news for Britain’s boaters, but unanswered questions about the final deal remain

Latest Brexit news, commentary and RYA priorities … read more (March 2018)

Brexit: boaters voice their concerns

RYA push to protect boaters’ benefits … read more (RYA magazine spring 2018)

Presenting the latest Brexit news, commentary and RYA priorities

2017 ended just as it started… with the news headlines dominated by Brexit … read more (December 2017)

Boating after Brexit

Key issues … read more (RYA magazine autumn 2017)

How will Brexit affect boating?

Lobbying to reduce regulatory interference will be an important role for the RYA … read more (RYA magazine summer 2017)

What may Brexit negotiations mean for EU… and you!

Brexit and boating … read more (June 2017)

Boat Owner Survey launched to support work on Brexit

Data needed to ensure that Government understands and takes account of recreational boating activity … read more (June 2017)

Brexit, what happens next?

With Article 50 finally triggered, some nine months after the historic Brexit vote, we ask what happens now? … read more (March 2017)

What will Brexit mean for boating?

We take a look at what the outcome of the EU referendum is likely to mean for UK boaters travelling in European waters … read more (RYA magazine autumn 2016)

RYA statement on the outcome of the EU Referendum

UK votes to leave EU, however this decision does not take immediate effect … read more (June 2016)

 

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