Towing your boat abroad? Avoid a customs headache

Advice for boat owners towing abroad this summer.
10 Apr 24
A car towing a boat out of the water

Most people towing their boat to the EU for a holiday or a short trip pass through customs without any issues. But we have heard from a handful of members, particularly those taking boats to regattas, who have encountered questions at the border.

When you tow your boat from the UK to the EU, and plan to bring it back within 18-months, you are likely to be doing so under the terms of temporary admission, avoiding the need to pay import tax and duty. 

As you drive through the border control point, you make a customs declaration by conduct. You might not be stopped, but if you are, your conversation with customs officials will be considered an oral customs declaration. The European Commission has indicated that where a customs declaration is made orally, you should present a supporting document such as the Annex 71-01 Form.

It is important to check that you can meet the conditions for temporary admission. You can find further information on this by visiting the Entry & exit formalities page. This page also includes more details on towing and other important things to consider when taking a boat into and back from the EU.

Get in touch

If you are stopped at customs, we would like to hear from you. 

To share your experiences of towing in the EU, please email the RYA Cruising team.