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Old 01-04-2013, 03:06   #1
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Are you put off sailing in the EU?

I know many sailors from outside the EU would like to cruise the Med but are you put off by the rules and regulations and the length of time you can stay without having to leave the EU?

Should there be an exemption for cruising sailors?
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:22   #2
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

I don't know anyone who has been put off cruising in Europe by that.

There is red tape virtually everywhere you cruise.

The EU rules are not that burdensome. It boils down to three things: (a) be careful of local taxes like in Spain where you are hit with a tax bill if you spend more than half a tax year there; (b) be careful of EU VAT rules, and make sure and take your non-EU boat out of the EU every 18 months or however long it is; (c) be careful not to violate the visa rules, or get a long-term visa.

That's it and you're done. Where else is so very much easier than that?

If you do as I did and buy your boat in the EU, and keep her flagged there, then it's even much easier. Then the only thing you have to worry about is your visa. In the UK there are no taxes whatsoever on boats (once the initial VAT is paid).
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:48   #3
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

The regulations in the EU are actually less of a problem than in the US where one needs to deal with 50 different sets of tax rules and regs, then add homeland security, harbor patrol and various enforcement agencies on top of that. In the EU, countries like Spain will leave a US flagged vessel alone if you follow the very basic rules; the tax authorities are after European tax cheats, not tourists.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:56   #4
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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The regulations in the EU are actually less of a problem than in the US where one needs to deal with 50 different sets of tax rules and regs, then add homeland security, harbor patrol and various enforcement agencies on top of that. In the EU, countries like Spain will leave a US flagged vessel alone if you follow the very basic rules; the tax authorities are after European tax cheats, not tourists.
I really hope so...
So why do we see so few American flagged boats across here.. we don't bite.. unless you ask nicely?
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:01   #5
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Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
I know many sailors from outside the EU would like to cruise the Med but are you put off by the rules and regulations and the length of time you can stay without having to leave the EU?

Should there be an exemption for cruising sailors?
The EU is very boat friendly, just look at the lack of check in /out rules. In this regard its a lot less bureaucratic then the US for foreigners

But yes , an obvious solution would be an extended Schengen compatible visa that could be justified on a case by case basis. However given that foreign long stay visiting cruisers amount to tiny numbers, and the EU commission is somewhat busy these days , I can't see it happening any day soon.

The next step , particularly in the Euro zone , will be a transisition to a fully fledged federal system, that will occupy minds for the next ten years. No doubt there will be fallout from that as regards more rules as well ( coupled with The Schengen -2 upgrades to the IT system )

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:30   #6
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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So why do we see so few American flagged boats across here.. we don't bite.. unless you ask nicely?
The EU weather. It's too cold from November until April as we found out this year, and this coming from someone used to the bone chilling New England winters.

In the USA, we have beautiful warm weather in Southern California, the southern states and Florida during the winter along with close access to the Caribbean. Then during the summer, it's beautiful all the way north into Canada. In the Med. it's just way too cold and windy except for the period between end of April through October unless one wants to head south into a North African Islamic country... which isn't a very good idea on a US flagged vessel.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:47   #7
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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Should there be an exemption for cruising sailors?
No

Because what would happen is that lots of other(?!) folks would abuse the system to "visit" permanently.

Sometimes in the life the "wetback" is............"you".
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:55   #8
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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No

Because what would happen is that lots of other(?!) folks would abuse the system to "visit" permanently.

Sometimes in the life the "wetback" is............"you".

Wow! That's a very friendly attitude towards tourists. And one still wonders why so few Americans decide to brave the crap European winter weather and cruise the EU?
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:03   #9
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pirate Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

Well... you are just Upper Class Boat People..
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:15   #10
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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Wow! That's a very friendly attitude towards tourists. And one still wonders why so few Americans decide to brave the crap European winter weather and cruise the EU?
I think 90 days moves folks beyond "Tourist".

In any event the market for folks staying longer - but not long enough to become residents ($$$) is so small as to be insignificant economically no matter whether they arrive by boat or by Jumbo Jet.........or are spending US Dollars or Pesos .

My guess is that so few Americans visit Europe by boat because a) it's a long way away and b) the Carribean is on the doorstep.

and FWIW, whilst me is in Europe am not in the EU (plusses and minuses to that).
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:26   #11
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

As a foreign cruiser who has visited 40 or so countries but not the EU, I find the rules in Europe pretty complicated, sounds like you need a full-time scheduler if not a lawyer. Arab Spring certainly has not helped. Also it seems like a very expensive place to cruise with limited anchoring opportunities in many places. As many European cruisers said in various places around the world, 'Why do you think we are here?'

If we decide to go to Europe I can get right of residency in Britain because my parents were born there. Have to figure out how that works - British resident (does that apply to wife?), Canadian-flagged boat.

BTW, the US is much easier. If only all the CBP people knew their own rules it would be terrific.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:34   #12
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post

My guess is that so few Americans visit Europe by boat because a) it's a long way away and b) the Carribean is on the doorstep.
Add to this the 5%-8% monetary loss in every financial exchange via the banking fees (credit card fees, currency exchange fees, etc) plus the European winter weather and I think we've summed up the reasons why so few visit.

It's too bad, because there is so much to see.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:25   #13
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

You think sailing in the EU is difficult for non-Europeans? Have you tried sailing in the US as a European?
First apply for your 10 year US visa, you won't be allowed in on your own boat without one. Then deal with US regulations that require you to check-in (by phone) every time you change area in your trip.....
Then explain to Security that as a non US boat there is no reason why you should not have visited Cuba......

Finally try and check out only to find that nobody knows just what pieces of paper you need and where to get them......
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:56   #14
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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As a foreign cruiser who has visited 40 or so countries but not the EU, I find the rules in Europe pretty complicated, sounds like you need a full-time scheduler if not a lawyer. Arab Spring certainly has not helped. Also it seems like a very expensive place to cruise with limited anchoring opportunities in many places. As many European cruisers said in various places around the world, 'Why do you think we are here?'

If we decide to go to Europe I can get right of residency in Britain because my parents were born there. Have to figure out how that works - British resident (does that apply to wife?), Canadian-flagged boat.

BTW, the US is much easier. If only all the CBP people knew their own rules it would be terrific.
Europe is a big place, so you can't make a generalization like "very expensive . . . limited anchoring . . ."

The Western Med in summer could possibly be described like that, but certain not the Eastern Med, European Atlantic coasts, or the Baltic. It is a vast and multifaceted region for cruisers.

Compared to the U.S., marinas are generally cheaper, often much cheaper, other than possibly the Cote d'Azur in summer. Anchoring possibilities depend, like everywhere, on the coastline, but on average are no worse than in the U.S. (you need a whole lot of anchor chain in parts of the European Atlantic with big tides). If you want an absolutely ideal place from this point of view, try Atlantic France -- dirt cheap marinas, fabulous anchorages, friendly people, incomparable food, wild, gorgeous coastline, challenging sailing -- and remember, Europe is first world, so there are many advantages compared to cruising in less civilized parts of the world.

Visa and tax rules are not more complicated than the U.S. Non-Americans cannot sail into U.S. waters without a paper visa, even if they are citizens of visa-waiver countries. And they had sure better not overstay their visas. Every state has its own tax and cruising permit rules, and if you mix up or forget how long you are allowed to stay without paying, you are screwed. This is no different than Europe, probably more complicated. Most European countries do not require cruising permits.

European coast guards and officialdom are different in different countries, but are generally much more relaxed and friendly than in the U.S., with less frequent boardings and hassles. I have crossed a couple of dozen times between the U.S., France, and Channel Islands -- all of which events require either immigration clearance, or customs, or both. The French simply refuse to carry out any formalities, and just wave you on your way, if you can even find an official. For the last year or two I have stopped chasing officials and just hoist a "Q" flag for a day or two, and then just pull it down when no one shows up. In the UK, both customs and immigration are done over the telephone in less than a minute, if you remember to think about it (few people do). In the Channel Islands, you fill out a form and drop it in the harbormaster's post box.

Cruising in Europe is really extremely low hassle and extremely high pleasure. The only problem, as pointed out by Kenomac, is that it is often cold. Global warming is letting us down here . Central heating and good clothes go far to mitigating this particular disadvantage.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:02   #15
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Re: Are you put off sailing in the EU?

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Originally Posted by Nostrodamus View Post
I know many sailors from outside the EU would like to cruise the Med but are you put off by the rules and regulations and the length of time you can stay without having to leave the EU?

Should there be an exemption for cruising sailors?
Only if there is a reciprocal exemption applied to EU flagged / (EU passport'ed) boats / (crews) in countries seeking such an exemption for their boats and citizens.

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