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Preparations!

Cardo

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3 Oct 2005
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In a plastic tub!
Ok, so as per my other thread, this will be our first foray away from Blitey. I've read about what is needed, however it would be helpful if people could let me know precisely what documents/items I'll need to not incur the wrath of the Gendarmerie!

So far I have:
Original SSR certificate
Radio licence
Insurance certificate
Passports
Flares
Proof of vat-paid status

What else would be considered a must on this trip?

Also, we'll be fuelling up before we set off. Should we pay full duty to keep the Frenchies happy?
 
Last edited:

Pinnacle

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6 Jan 2006
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Its most unlikely you will meet any Gendarmarie.........

If you do come across any "officialdom" they will probably only be interested in the registration doc/passports and possibly (outside chance only ) the original VAT invoice to show the vat status of the boat.

In all the years I have been going to France I have never been asked to show anything. Hows that for tempting fate! ;)
 

prv

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Southampton
Didn't see anyone in authority at all last year. The marina office wanted to see the SSR certificate, but I think that was mostly to prove our length for charging purposes, and to spell awkward English names :)

Pete
 

jhr

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Royston Vasey
In theory (and I stress in theory), the fact that you have SSR registration should satisfy the French authorities that any VAT liability on your boat lies with HMRC in the UK, and has nothing to do with them.

I'm not sure how this argument plays when you deploy it against several large men armed with automatic weapons. There have been numerous threads on here, over the years, about whether or not you need evidence of VAT having been paid and I don't want to start another one: you might want to look at what the RYA have to say on the subject. In the real world, it doesn't seem to have been an issue for anyone doing the Scuttlebutt trip. I've never even been asked for my passport in Cherbourg. Having said which ............... :)

As with VAT, so with Red Diesel, where the current status is a little unclear. Once again, the situation is well set out by the RYA but I'd particularly draw your attention to these lines:

Specific Advice for Boaters visiting France:-

The Customs Attaché of the French Embassy in London has confirmed that:

1. If the owner is a British resident and the vessel is in French waters on a temporary basis (holiday), the vessel may arrive in France with red diesel in its tank, refuel with correctly taxed diesel during its stay in France and return to Great Britain without a problem.

................................................................................................

You should however be aware that it is prohibited to purchase rebated diesel for recreational boating in France.
Make sure you keep the receipt when you fill up with Red.

HTH
 

Cardo

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Thanks for the replies. I've added the vat document (in our case exemption as boat is ancient) to the list.
 

bedouin

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Technically you should probably carry a receipt for any Red diesel in your tanks showing that tax has been paid. Can't see anyone in France bothering though
 

BobE

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15 Jan 2002
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French Customs

I was, for the first time ever, visited by french customs in Cherbourg back in April....
They were on a large grey boat from Bouloinge ?Spelling? and came into the marina in a small rib...
Luckily I carry all the ships docs in my chart bag....So was OK..
Two Burly 'uggers and a bird politely asked if they could come on board...
Asked for passports and registry docs but nowt else... Joked about seeing the engine number! and left without any rummaging or mention of fuel or VAT..
That's the first time in 12 yers so I guess odds are on your side..
C U there
Cheers Bob E....
 

Sailfree

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18,072
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Nazare Portugal
If first trip main thing is plan journey to finish up tide from Cherbourg. Currents are stronger off France than UK.

Docs,

Passports
Original registration document (photocopy will not do)

I have a photocopy of the €150 fine issued to another UK boat in St Quay Pontrieux in June this year! It does happen to a few. French seem to accept red diesel is only option for uK sailors and I believe encourage UK visitors rather than fine them!!

I take all docs including VAT receipt. So far in 14yrs of X channel I have only been stopped and inspected once and that was by imitation SAS (UK Border agency!)
 

fireball

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15 Nov 2004
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19,453
I was, for the first time ever, visited by french customs in Cherbourg back in April....
They were on a large grey boat from Bouloinge ?Spelling? and came into the marina in a small rib...
Luckily I carry all the ships docs in my chart bag....So was OK..
Two Burly 'uggers and a bird politely asked if they could come on board...
Asked for passports and registry docs but nowt else... Joked about seeing the engine number! and left without any rummaging or mention of fuel or VAT..
That's the first time in 12 yers so I guess odds are on your side..
C U there
Cheers Bob E....
I think a lot of that will be down to their mood, but more importantly - the reception you give them ... with a smile & welcome onboard you'll probably get treated similarly, try to be difficult and they'll play that game too ... :)

Can't make it across this year... :(
 

Sailfree

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I think a lot of that will be down to their mood, but more importantly - the reception you give them ... with a smile & welcome onboard you'll probably get treated similarly, try to be difficult and they'll play that game too ... :)

Can't make it across this year... :(
Not according to the UK skipper I met in St Quay Pontrieux. He was a nice friendly guy but they threw the book at him. €150 for no original SSR. €250 fine for buying 2 new bikes in Guernsey (no VAT) and not declaring them at first EU port.

They were dissapointed that he had proof of VAT paid for a SSR boat. They phoned UK to verify SSR!

Anyway why arn't you joining us this year in Cherbourg? You will be missed.
 

fireball

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15 Nov 2004
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Blimey! Glad I have orig ssr laminated!

Havent been on the boat much this year and need to spend some time on it with the normal crew rather than x channel for a pissup!
Anyway - I can't beat LiRed's record for attendance. :)
 
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