From EU Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93.
1. Total relief from import duties shall be granted for means of
road, rail, air, sea and inland waterway transport where they:
(a) are registered outside the customs territory of the Community in
the name of a person established outside that territory; however,
if the means of transport are not registered, the above condition
may be deemed to be met where they are owned by a person
established outside the customs territory of the Community;
(b) are used by a person established outside that territory, without
prejudice to Articles 559, 560 and 561; and
1. Natural persons established in the customs territory of the
Community shall benefit from total relief from import duties
where they privately use means of transport occasionally, on the
instructions of the registration
holder, this holder being in the
customs territory at the time of use.
Such persons shall also benefit from total relief, for the private use
of means of transport hired under a written contract
2. Total relief from import duties shall be granted where means
of transport are used commercially or privately by a natural person
resident in the customs territory of the Union and employed by the
owner, hirer or lessee of the means of transport established outside
Private use of the means of transport is allowed for journeys
between the place of work
and the place of residence of the
employee or with the purpose of performing a professional task
of the employee as stipulated in the contract
At the request of the customs authorities, the person using the
means of transport shall present a copy of the contract of
Without prejudice to other special provisions, the periods for
discharge are the following:
(e) for privately used means of sea and inland waterway transport:
From 558 in conjunction with 562 (e) I take it to mean that someone from outside the EU, with a vessel registered outside of the EU is not required to pay VAT as long as the vessel departs the EU within 18 months.
From 560, I infer that to mean that someone established within the EU (eg. the OP) may occasionally use the vessel within the EU as long as they have "instructions" from the registered user, and that the registered owner is in the EU. I don't know whether the "instructions" imply written or verbal instructions. Alternatively a person within the EU may also use the vessel if they have hired the vessel under a written contract, so perhaps your friend provides a written hire contract to you, with a nominal or zero value.
And from 561, I take that to mean someone established within the EU can use the vessel when they are hired by the registered owner to perform a task (such as a yacht delivery). The task must be stipulated in the contract between the registered owner and the person using the vessel (ie the delivery
The owner has kindly offered the boat to me when he is not using, and offered if I want to move it to a next destination country for his collection and next trip by himself.
I think the simple solution would be for you to get him to write a contract stipulating that you are delivering the boat from one country/port to another.