I just checked one more time to confirm my understanding. The time frames run separate but at times, one time frame can run out independent of the other. It is possible to use up the customs bonding time in 24 months necessitating the need to leave the EU. It's also possible to use up the 18 months of active time necessitating a quick trip. But when a combination of the two are used... The time frames run separate, just so long as neither one is used up.
Example: The summer vacation
in the Med scenario, when the boat is clearly not in use and bonded during the off season. This is the reason the provision was allowed in the first place. When the boat is bonded and the owner is documented to be outside the EU, and the boat is sealed... this time is considered "bond time" which can accumulate to a maximum of 24 months, and there are very strict regulations
and monitoring by officials. When my boat recently came out of bond, there were metal seals
all over the boat including seals
on the sails
. Use time (summer months) can accumulate to a maximum of 18 months.
So, if one was to burn through the use time in 18 months, yes... you would need to leave. If one was to bond the boat for 6 months, then place the boat in use for 18 months, yes... You would need to leave the EU after only 24 months.
Only by using a carefully planned combination of use time and bond time can the time frame be extended, and it does necessitate using customs officials and spending some money
on bonding agents.
When things are done correctly using the proper authorities, and fees
are paid, there's nothing to worry about... it's all spelled out in writing on official government
documents. It's when some people sneak around trying to overstay a visit, is when they encounter problems.
The law is much more complex than the couple of sentences on the official website. You can choose to believe it or not... I really don't care, but I'm signing off this thread... Enough time has been spent attempting to convince the skeptics.