The RYA is due to launch an online survey next week to gauge the impact of the Schengen agreement on UK recreational boaters. The survey, The UK has left the EU: The impact of Schengen rules on UK boaters, comes as Government continues to negotiate the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. 

Currently, the RYA understands that travel to the Schengen area will be visa free for UK citizens after the transition period ends on the 31 December 2020, however it appears that improving access beyond that permitted under the EU wide Schengen 90/180-day rule is not part of the UK's negotiations with the EU. If this is the case, then this will have a significant impact on UK citizens’ rights to travel in Europe after the end of transition, particularly those who wish to spend the summer, and possibly longer, in the EU27 on their boats as many do now. Under current arrangements, EU citizens will be able to visit the UK on a standard visitor visa for 6 months at a time.

The survey aims to gather reliable and representative statistics to clarify the breadth of the issues involved. Participants of the survey will be asked to complete questions regarding topics such as the frequency of their boating trips abroad, the type of boat that they use and about their future travel plans for boating trips to the Schengen Area. 

RYA Director of External Affairs, Howard Pridding, said: “The RYA continues to engage with Government about the need for further discussions surrounding access to the Schengen Area. We are aware that there is a considerable number of boaters who keep their vessels in an EU27 country and many more who spend extended periods cruising European waters. With this survey we hope to gain a better understanding of the actual size of the potential issue and how many recreational boaters could be adversely affected. 

“In order for us to be able to gain this insight it is essential that recreational boaters across the UK engage with the survey when it is released later this month.”  

The survey is expected to go live next week with the findings of the survey to be released in the autumn. Access to the survey will be found via the RYA website: www.rya.org.uk

If you have any questions about the survey or require further information on Brexit, please visit the Current Affairs Hub on the RYA website. Alternatively, if you are a member of the RYA and require advice, please email cruising@rya.org.uk.