HM Customs Information

Requirements for Pleasure Craft

The procedure for clearance of UK based pleasure craft leaving this country and returning from abroad is detailed in the booklet Notice 8 obtainable from HM Customs and available online at

Arriving and departing from within the EU

No formalities are required if pleasure craft are sailing between European Union countries, unless they are carrying passengers that are non-EU passport holders, animals, firearms, prohibited goods, or excess goods from a duty free source. They are permitted the allowances detailed in Notice 1 obtainable from HM Customs.

Outward bound for non EC countries

(Including the Channel Islands):

1. Complete form C1331 (available from clubs and marinas) Part 1 sections i and ii and deliver to Customs by:

a. handing to a Customs officer.

b. putting it in a Customs post box - sited at Cowes Harbour Office, Cowes Yacht Haven, Shepards Wharf Marina, and East Cowes Marina (DO NOT place in a Post Office box).

c. taking it to a Customs Office.

2. Retain Part 2 (blue copy) on board.

Inward bound from non EU countries

(Including the Channel Islands):

Reporting Procedure:

• Fly the '‘Q'’ Flag on entering UK Territorial Waters.

• Complete Sections i and iii of Part 2 (blue copy) of Form C1331.

• Contact Customs either in person or by contacting 0845 723 1110 and you will be told what to do.

• If Part 2 of C1331 from an outward voyage is available, this may be used as the Report Document.

• Tell Customs if:

1. VAT has not been paid on the vessel.

2. You have any goods in excess of the traveller's allowance shown in Notice 1 A Customs guide for travellers entering the UK, or you have on board goods which are to be treated as duty free stores.

3. You have any prohibited or restricted goods i.e. animals, firearms etc.

4. There is any notifiable illness on board.

5. There are people on board who need immigration clearance.

6. Any repairs or modifications, other than running repairs, which have been carried out since the vessel last left the EU.

• Do not take the Flag down until Customs clearance has been given.

Customs Officers still have the right to board yachts and question the crew.

For advice, call the National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000. 

Please report any suspicious activities on drugs smuggling:

Freephone: 0800 595000

CAUTION: These notes are not comprehensive but form a basic guideline and as such may be subject to change.