Join Date: Jan 2007
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Val, I'm no expert, but my understanding is that you only have to go to the port of entry with a Q flag for the first entry into that EU country. After that you can refer to it and go into harbours without customs/immigration. It is currently pretty relaxed, but tightening. I had a non-EU crew running into Edinburgh. After some telephoned advice, I took the crew and papers to Edinburgh airport, as they have customs and immigration officers there. It all went well, except the officer concerned expressed sadness that we had not invited him to visit us in Granton harbour - he would have enjoyed the day out.... So next time, I will offer the opportunity.
In Dover, I had to take the crew to the cross channel ferry docks and feed them in one side and nip round to the other to pick them up, they went through as ferry as passengers. Very odd. Frankly I don't think they actually look out for Q flags on yachts, but expect the skipper to turn up and do the formalities. But other countries, other rules. The Dutch have a form to fill in, but getting them is not so easy. However, they don't seem to mind, if everything is otherwise in order.
Rumour has it that from 2009, we will all have to inform the UK coast guard of our approach so many miles out.
The authorities are getting very interested in VAT payment. I think for a Canadian flagged yacht, you will have no trouble if you change countries every 6 months, but watch the Spanish, they are getting fast off the mark on the 185th day. I read Greece and Cyprus are getting unfriendly to other nations' yachts, in the sense they want money on sight.
You can get a lot of info from the RYA and the Cruising Association, which might be worth joining if you are coming across.