Sailing leisure craft to and from the UK

Find out about the required documentation for people who sail leisure craft to and from the UK and Border Force's benchmarking exercise for customer service.



Commitment to the boating community

Anyone who owns, or is responsible for, a leisure craft (such as a yacht) that sails to or from locations outside the UK is required to provide vessel and goods documentation. For VAT purposes, the Channel Islands are treated as being outside the UK and the European Community.

Border Force is working with the maritime community (both owners and operators) to find a solution to collecting vessel and goods information in advance of travel and ensuring the community is represented in the process.

All boaters prior to arrival must consider:

  • whether you tell us of your arrival depends on the location of your last port of call

  • if you are arriving from another EU country, you only need to contact us if you have goods to declare and if anyone onboard requires immigration clearance

  • if you are travelling by leisure craft from a non-EU country, you must phone the National Yachtline on 0845 723 1110.

The National Yachtline will ask you a number of questions about your journey and who is on board your boat. You should have the documents for the vessel and crew ready. These include:

  • vessel registration papers
  • passports
  • clearance document from your last port of call
  • VAT status or receipt
  • customs declaration (C1331) if you’re returning back to the UK.

Border Force electronically collects and analyses information from carriers (including airlines, ferries and rail companies) about everyone who intends to travel to or from the UK. It allows them to identify passengers who are a potential risk and to alert the relevant authorities.

Customer service benchmarking

This document provides a comparison of the services offered by Border Force Maritime and Criminal Investigations and Immigration Enforcement South East, covering key performance indicators, evaluation and notable findings, as well as details of the surveys, ‘our service to you’ and conclusions.

Published 8 January 2014
Last updated 2 April 2014 + show all updates
  1. Customer charter for maritime operations added.

  2. First published.