Originally Posted by AiniA
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.