Importing a dinghy from the UK to France


Super Anarchist
There are lot of nice cruising second hand dinghies (wanderer, wayfarer) in the UK and I was wondering whether some of you have tried to import/export a small boat across the channel post Brexit. The plan would be to take the ferry across the channel with the boat in tow.

Is it just a matter of paying VAT ? Is it more complicated ? Is the red tape manageable ? What about a boat that was built while the UK was in the EU, do you still need to pay VAT twice ?

We are just talking of a boat worth a few thousand pounds, not a yacht...


Bring it back on the ferry and say nothing! Maybe take a crap dinghy across from France to England on your way to collect the new one and claim you were at an event. otherwise you will have to pay import duty (?30%) of the value assigned by customs and then VAT on the whole lot it could easily add up to €3/4 k on a small dinghy


Super Anarchist
100% just hook it up to your car and tow it across.
Maybe paint a French name on the transom and remove anything with UK branding and logo on it, but I would imagine you would slip under the radar with something like that.

Or if you know any one in England doing a cross channel run and they have a big enough boat then they could bring it across for you as their tender.

Not sure if the EU has import duty on dinghy's, but you do owe VAT at whatever it's set at in France. Kind of shit when you consider VAT was already paid in the EU before Brexit. But there you are.
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Super Anarchist
Do you have to register trailers?
In the UK you just put a license plate on it the same as your cars number as long as its within the legal size.


Super Anarchist
Hamble / Paris
As above EU VAT has to be paid on the price you pay in UK even if UK VAT was paid in the past (this is a change post Brexit as UK/EU did not reach am agreement on this). You should get the seller to complete a simple MCA sale form and use that as your proof of purchase. Any boat you buy should have an EU CE certification sticker/plate as it will have been built whilst UK was an EU member (assuming you don't buy something very recent.

I would speak to (French ?) customs now and ask about forms

We made sure we brought a cruising boat back my friend bought before "Brexit Day" as we saved £40k of VAT. For yachts I know you can still keep a UK boat for many years (3?) in EU without paying VAT again. It might be worth asking as maybe you can import a dinghy "temporarily" although with VAT likely just a few 100 euro so not worth bother

Black Sox

Super Anarchist
Dublin, Ireland
Get a receipt from the seller for EUR500. Produce it to the French customs guys. Declare and pay VAT on 500.

Unless the customs guy just happens to be familiar with the prices of used sailing dinghies...