We spent the last four years in the Med. We learned a couple of things:
1. Not to confuse the Mastrich Treaty with the Schengen Treaty. Mastrich applies to property, Schengen to people (that may be a vast simplification, but it worked for me).
2. Mastrich says you cannot have your boat in the Eurozone (as a non-Eurozone citizen) for more than 18 consecutive months. You can reset the Mastrich clock by leaving for 24 hours, checking in to a non-Mastrich treaty country and then checking back out and then back in. Of course, no one recommends the 24 hour approach, it is too risky. At least a month would be preferable. You can also bond your boat out while it is on the hard
, but it takes careful documentation
and having customs
on board to lead seal the helm
from moving for the duration of the stay. At the end they give you a letter stamped with the certifications that allow you to not to count the time on the hard
against the 18 months. The Mastrich is actually the one with financial teeth. If customs
finds that you overstayed the time, they hit your boat with the VAT of 23% of the boat's value (which they determine without an immediate right of appeal on the spot). So, the authorities are very interested in identifying boats that are subject to the tax and in enforcing it. We were accosted at the dock
in Calvi, Corsica
by 3 French customs officials. It was pretty intense. Only after 90 minutes of laying down document after document did they concede that I had not violated the Mastrich limits. It was pretty obvious that they wanted to hit me with the tax, but just could not. For some reason, the bonding letter from Sardinia was the ace card for us. No idea why as we were not over the limit either way.
3. The Schengen says that you, as a person, cannot stay in the Eurozone more than 90 days in any 6 month ROLLING period of time. So it is not 90 days related to any calendar event and you CANNOT reset it by simply leaving the Eurozone and returning without staying out the required time to reduce your rolling total to less than 90 days. Pick any 6 months before or after your consecutive stays in the Eurozone and if your time exceeds that you are an illegal alien. The authorities can, if they choose, immediately expel you, they can, and have, written on passports that one was an illegal immigrant, not to return. And just "losing" the passport and getting a new one does not fix the issue as it is in the system. If one violates this law, it is possible that one will not be able to return to that country without a Visa in the future. It was a constant nagging issue for us, and I did worry that I might be kicked out without warning -- leaving my boat at a marina without me for a prolonged period of time. When we first got to the Med, the northern countries (Germany and England) were strict, but no one in the south really cared. But the Syrian refugee crisis changed all that. Everyone got much much more serious in 2015 and is much more serious now Being a cruising sailor is not an excuse for a violation.
number one is that you have 90 days in any rolling 6 month period under Schengen. Rule
number two is there is nothing you can do to change rule number one.
5. We might think these laws to be "ridiculous", but they are the backbone of the European Union (ask the Brexit folks about that) and they were negotiated for a reason. It was not for us to say why or whether we agreed. When in Rome, ......