Best place for non eu citizen to keep boat in med

roblpm

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Howdy,

I used to be a regular poster but have been boatless for about 5 years. I am now starting to think I need to ruin myself by returning to boat ownership.

One option is the Clyde which is the sensible option and might happen first. Don’t really need any ideas for that.

However it may transpire that in a couple of years I become a bit of an itinerant. Few months in uk. Few months in South America. And a few months on my boat in the Med…!

I am a citizen of a few places non of which unfortunately are in the med!

So anyone done this recently? Bought a boat in the med (maybe without any vat) and then spent say 3,4 or 5 months a year on it?

Where is best for berthing and also has interesting cruising nearby. (Obviously Scotland is best but I think my wife who is not from Scotland won’t be totally impressed by the weather having grown up somewhere where it was 35 degrees every day of the year!).

At the moment this is fantasy land. But could be reality. I note Croatia has just joined Schengen?

Cheers

Rob
 

Tranona

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Greece would be my first choice. You can buy non VAT paid ex charter boats easily (also in Croatia). The limitations for the boat are the notional 18 months temporary admission, but you have an easy choice of leaving Greece for Turkey to restart the clock, or for extra non Schengen days. I believe Greece will also accept keeping the boat in bond when not using it as that period does not count towards your 18 months. In general cheaper and better cruising than the western Med. Distinctly seasonal though - April- October and July/August hot and crowded.
 

roblpm

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Greece would be my first choice. You can buy non VAT paid ex charter boats easily (also in Croatia). The limitations for the boat are the notional 18 months temporary admission, but you have an easy choice of leaving Greece for Turkey to restart the clock, or for extra non Schengen days. I believe Greece will also accept keeping the boat in bond when not using it as that period does not count towards your 18 months. In general cheaper and better cruising than the western Med. Distinctly seasonal though - April- October and July/August hot and crowded.
Seasons not necessarily a problem!! Will have an all season place at about 11 degrees north where it is too hot all year….. So shoulder seasons will be fine. Any ideas where is best to base in Greece??
 

Tranona

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Ionian is probably more popular as it is easier to access and conditions more benign. Aegean has far more choice of places and better for sailing, plus easy access to Turkey.

Buy a copy of Rod Heikell's pilots for the area as these give a very good feel for what you can expect.

In addition to the dreaming bit, dip your toe in with a couple of charters. That is what we did before we bought our boat out there. One in Turkey then 2 years in Corfu before we bought our first Bavaria based mostly in Corfu but also one year in Levkas. Suited us for our holiday use because of direct flights, but with your pattern of use no reason to be tied to one area.
 

Frogmogman

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Why not just keep it in Turkey ? Bodrum, Marmaris, bay of Fethiye; all easy to get to and wonderful sailing. I agree with Tranona. Do a couple of charters and see where you like best.
 

Baggywrinkle

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Howdy,

I used to be a regular poster but have been boatless for about 5 years. I am now starting to think I need to ruin myself by returning to boat ownership.

One option is the Clyde which is the sensible option and might happen first. Don’t really need any ideas for that.

However it may transpire that in a couple of years I become a bit of an itinerant. Few months in uk. Few months in South America. And a few months on my boat in the Med…!

I am a citizen of a few places non of which unfortunately are in the med!

So anyone done this recently? Bought a boat in the med (maybe without any vat) and then spent say 3,4 or 5 months a year on it?

Where is best for berthing and also has interesting cruising nearby. (Obviously Scotland is best but I think my wife who is not from Scotland won’t be totally impressed by the weather having grown up somewhere where it was 35 degrees every day of the year!).

At the moment this is fantasy land. But could be reality. I note Croatia has just joined Schengen?

Cheers

Rob
Only thing to add is the Schengen Shuffle as you want 3,4 or 5 months a year on the boat.

Apart from the problem that the Schengen area is most of the Med, bear in mind that Turkey, Montenegro and many non-EU countries also limit visa-free access to 90 days in 180 so anything over 3 months anywhere will require a country change before 90 days are up with return prohibited for another 90 days.

Summary of boat VAT, citizenship, and residency is as follows ...

Having no EU residency (or citizenship) allows a VAT free boat to enter the EU under 18 month TA but limits the user to 90/180 days in EU waters of Schengen member states. When my boat was VAT unpaid in Croatia, resetting the TA clock took an afternoon - all EU eastern med countries are used to the process and will support it as there is no defined time limit for the boat being out of the EU before re-entering.
Having EU residency means no limit on boat use in the same country as the residency, but VAT is then due and Schengen rules apply in the rest of the Schengen area.
Having residency in the EU and EU citizenship means VAT must be paid but the Schengen 90/180 limits don't apply.

Having Citizenship of an EU country is relevant because although VAT is determined by residency, EU citizens are not supposed to use their own VAT unpaid boats privately in the EU, and after 3 months in an EU country, EU citizens are supposed to register their presence - depending on how the tax authorities interpret all this it could land an EU citizen with a VAT bill.

Greece is a good choice due to the proximity of Turkey as a non-Schengen country to sit out the Schengen clock.
Croatia can be used in a similar way when paired up with Montenegro as the non-Schengen option.

I would also recommend a charter in Greece, Turkey and Croatia to help make your mind up - all are fantastic cruising grounds.
 

roblpm

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Only thing to add is the Schengen Shuffle as you want 3,4 or 5 months a year on the boat.

Apart from the problem that the Schengen area is most of the Med, bear in mind that Turkey, Montenegro and many non-EU countries also limit visa-free access to 90 days in 180 so anything over 3 months anywhere will require a country change before 90 days are up with return prohibited for another 90 days.

Summary of boat VAT, citizenship, and residency is as follows ...

Having no EU residency (or citizenship) allows a VAT free boat to enter the EU under 18 month TA but limits the user to 90/180 days in EU waters of Schengen member states. When my boat was VAT unpaid in Croatia, resetting the TA clock took an afternoon - all EU eastern med countries are used to the process and will support it as there is no defined time limit for the boat being out of the EU before re-entering.
Having EU residency means no limit on boat use in the same country as the residency, but VAT is then due and Schengen rules apply in the rest of the Schengen area.
Having residency in the EU and EU citizenship means VAT must be paid but the Schengen 90/180 limits don't apply.

Having Citizenship of an EU country is relevant because although VAT is determined by residency, EU citizens are not supposed to use their own VAT unpaid boats privately in the EU, and after 3 months in an EU country, EU citizens are supposed to register their presence - depending on how the tax authorities interpret all this it could land an EU citizen with a VAT bill.

Greece is a good choice due to the proximity of Turkey as a non-Schengen country to sit out the Schengen clock.
Croatia can be used in a similar way when paired up with Montenegro as the non-Schengen option.

I would also recommend a charter in Greece, Turkey and Croatia to help make your mind up - all are fantastic cruising grounds.

Thanks a lot. Between my wife and I we are UK USA and Colombian. One interesting thing I just discovered is she can get Spanish citizenship in just two years of residency! Must be Spain feeling guilty about nicking all their gold….!

Anyway as neither of us will be EU citizens for the foreseeable we would obviously need to concentrate on the 90 in 180. And reset the car clock. And check the visa situations! Looks ok both Schengen and Turkey 90 day tourist visas available for both.

Yes we definitely need to get on some charters!!
 

Tranona

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Why restrict yourself to the north of the med. There is a whole south coast with no Schengen problems! And then there is Israel at the far end.
Apart from Tunisia and a bit of Morocco pretty inhospitable to visitors, a near war zone or a departure point for migrants going north to Europe. OK if you like extreme adventure holidays I suppose.
 

Tranona

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Ok next question. Which is cheaper for a base?! Croatia, Greece or Turkey?!
Greece. Once you have navigated the bureaucracy best choice of both sea and land based activities and easiest access from UK. Croatia has distinct scenery and maybe more sophistication but more expensive, Turkey similar to Greece. You can visit both from a base in Greece.
 

roblpm

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Greece. Once you have navigated the bureaucracy best choice of both sea and land based activities and easiest access from UK. Croatia has distinct scenery and maybe more sophistication but more expensive, Turkey similar to Greece. You can visit both from a base in Greece.
65 quid return from Gatwick to Preveza in April! And the boat prices are way lower than the UK I think....... Although maybe the post Covid/Brexit boat price boom in the UK has calmed a bit!
 

Tranona

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65 quid return from Gatwick to Preveza in April! And the boat prices are way lower than the UK I think....... Although maybe the post Covid/Brexit boat price boom in the UK has calmed a bit!
Be wary of "cheap" boats out there. They are usually cheap for a reason. It is a bit of a dumping ground for older N European boats taken there years ago nd the owners have given up so many you see for sale will be well worn and often just left or may have inadequate provenance or paperwork. So a trip out there for a week or two will be worthwhile. The best buys are well maintained ex charter boats from reputable operators. They will be well equipped and maintained. The ex VAT prices are usually lower than a similar boat in the UK.

Another approach you might take, depending on your budget is to buy a new boat under one of the charter management schemes which will give you more than enough sailing time to use your Schengen time. A bit more restrictive in where you can go but literally you just fly in, use the boat and leave it when you have finished. This is how we bought our first Bavaria.

Worth looking here sailionian.com/yacht-ownership/ i know them from my time out there and if we had been able to continue I expect we would have bought a new boat through them. All in the past for me, but still think it is a viable way of getting extended sailing time above the normal charter. You just need to be clear it is a long term (5 year) commitment.
 

BurnitBlue

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Be wary of "cheap" boats out there. They are usually cheap for a reason. It is a bit of a dumping ground for older N European boats taken there years ago nd the owners have given up so many you see for sale will be well worn and often just left or may have inadequate provenance or paperwork. So a trip out there for a week or two will be worthwhile. The best buys are well maintained ex charter boats from reputable operators. They will be well equipped and maintained. The ex VAT prices are usually lower than a similar boat in the UK.

Another approach you might take, depending on your budget is to buy a new boat under one of the charter management schemes which will give you more than enough sailing time to use your Schengen time. A bit more restrictive in where you can go but literally you just fly in, use the boat and leave it when you have finished. This is how we bought our first Bavaria.

Worth looking here sailionian.com/yacht-ownership/ i know them from my time out there and if we had been able to continue I expect we would have bought a new boat through them. All in the past for me, but still think it is a viable way of getting extended sailing time above the normal charter. You just need to be clear it is a long term (5 year) commitment.
Very true. In general the British owned boats are in poor condition and unfortunitely getting worse because who wants a big slice of there 90/180 spent on cleaning, maintenance and repairs. A big enough slice is spent commisioning before launch and lay up. Waiting for a launch and lift out slots.also steals time from sailing. No time for upgrades or repairs. Those with residence can spare the time, those without spend time plotting their escape, or selling ASAP. Some, of course, those with employement at home consider 90/180 good enough. So the bottom has not quite fallen completely.
 
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Tranona

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That was one of the main reasons we decided to buy the way we did. If you have limited time to use the boat then you have to look at it differently. The boat becomes a means to an end and not the end itself. That is what is attractive about charter - no time spent doing boat things before going off for your 2 or 3 week cruise. I worked out that once you got between 3-4 weeks charter it was cheaper to own the boat as a charter boat - although given the higher cost of boats now that is probably 6 weeks+. We borrowed on an interest only loan against our house to buy the boat on a scheme where we paid 50% and got effectively more weeks than we could use for 6 years and the boat was worth much what we paid at the end of the period. We chose to keep the boat and pay VAT based on the reduced value. Now we are out of the EU the boat could be kept free of VAT under TA. Important to have a guardinage contract such as Sailionian offer to achieve much the same convenience of stepping on and off as you do with charter.

Not for everybody as it is quite a big investment and you need to be clear about the level of commitment. Worked for us. I brought the boat back to the UK and eventually traded it in for a new Bavaria which I kept for over 5 years then sold it. The net drop in capital value of my initial purchase cost paying VAT and paying the top up for the new boat was around £10k. Not bad for 20 years ownership of 2 new boats. Of course ignores all annual running costs and interest on the original loan, but the latter was more than offset by 6 years "free" holidays.
 

dunedin

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I am pretty sure if GiB joins U.K. passport holders will have an exemption in Gibraltar, it would be chaos otherwise.
Gibraltar itself is VERY small - and IMHO would become boring and limiting very quickly.
Also, others will know better than me, but I thought berthing options were very limited - hence why many boats berth just across the water on the Spanish side
 
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