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I am shipping my boat (Tiki 31)  within the next couple of months to the UK from C.I. to put her together and launch her, probably in the Trent below Nottingham to shake her down over the autumn and  winter for sea cruising in 2014.

I know that I need some certification to be on UK inland waterways. Has anyone advice on this?

Alternatively, if I launch direct to sea in the UK, do I also need certification as a self-builder?

I am not intending to sell her in the foreseeable future.

Owing to the incredibly long duration of the build, I am fairly confident that my ex-VAT status will be ok as I am moving the boat with my belongings to UK.

I'd be interested in hearing any experiences of similar cross-border movements ref HM Customs & C.  Bon soir.

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Bon soir Jacques: C.I. is the Channel Islands, known in France as les Iles Anglo-Normandes I think.

They are also known in France as a "paradis fiscale" because they are outside the EU. They are however sovereign lands of Britain, as the Duchess of Normandy, ie the Queen, is titular sovereign over them.

Largely as a result of what is going on (actually, a better description would be what is "not" going on) in France at the moment (economy growth and tax inversely proportionate), I am choosing to move from C.I. to UK, although I have property in Normandy and would ultimately like to live there as my principal residence. The Hollande government has largely screwed that up for many British expats with a deleterious effect on local rural economies.

Since C.I. has no VAT (TVA in France) being outside EU- kind of legislatures there is an issue about importing into UK or France without paying VAT on your imports. If you can prove your boat is old enough, as a selfbuild, which mine definitely is, since I began building it in UK before moving to C.I., she can be classed as exempt, though these things,(very much like more generally in France) are not immutable and depend on individual interpretation to some extent.

So I have made a decision that getting EU status for the boat in UK is easier than in France effectively, since I came from there and am going "home".

The insurance is all tied up with this as you rightly say. I think my best option is to go for the UK  Boat Safety Certificate which is relatively cheap and concentrates on electrics and engines (minimal in my case) but only relates to boats under 12m length I think. Also there is a no-sell factor for 5 years after certification (not a consideration for me). French bureaucracy seems more demanding and almost flagrantly unreliable from anecdotal reports.

Though my French is pretty good and I have successfully negotiated French customs with a lot of business machinery, for example, which I got through as "scrap" (let's face it is all scrap now in such an unenterprising milieu, I am probably shipping it back to UK) I think I will get a better deal through UK, but daresay there may be other experiences from people which may not be good.

Generally, I would welcome a discussion about this since by the very nature of voyaging it is an important consideration..  A bientot   Ian

We built in the UK and got Peace registered under the small ships registry and I do not remember any kind of certificate.  We insured in Britain and likely you will not have any problem at all.  We got a survey and insured through St Margaret's which is now Robin KNox Johnson.  No trouble at all.  Go for it!  I think CI would be acceptable.  Sort of kin of British?  I am a dual citizen US and UK now.  Nev is Welsh.  Our boat has her SSR number and after we crossed the Atlantic, she also has  a state of Rhode Island (US state) number as well.  (?).  I don't know a whole lot about governments, but mostly they want you to pay a fee for getting some paper work done and there is no real problem if you pay the fees and smile a lot and be patient.  Hot brownies freshly made from home are also well received and are a more ethical bribe.  Good luck and let us all know how it works out.

I do not live in UK but I used to work in customs in Ireland and much of our regulation is "inherited" from the UK. So the following may may/not be of use.

 If you are moving house you will probably be bringing in household goods etc. If so contact the moving firm who will be using a customs agent to prepare the paper to allow this in free. Your personal car [s] for instance should qualify as part of your household goods. You should be able to include your boat I imagine also.

Again I am not in UK but I understand [UK resident please confirm] that registrarion is voluntary in tidal waters but to enter some inland waterways you must register with the relevant water authority [not national authority] and pay a small annual fee. Note this is registration not certification.

I understand there is an exemption from the EU certification process for owner-built boats provided they are not sold for 5 years but I have no experience of this. Perhaps it only arises at the end of the period if you sell or maybe the bereaucrats need a certificate to say that you do not need a certificate !! I would love comment from UK builder on this.

Insurance I understand is subject to a survey not certification [but again I may be corrected]. Some insurers accept something less than a full survey on boats below a certain size/value but perhaps not on a home-build.

Again this is based on Irish experience but we tend to copy UK practice.


Or take all equipment off the boat, certify it, and then bring everything back onboard. After all you need only the boat registered, not the equipment.

Jean-Paul said:

If you have only a part of your equipment with VAT paid in the UK it's worth to negociate a rebate with the authorities. The idea is to pay VAT only on the equipment you bought in your "paradis fiscal".

Hello everyone, thanks for all your replies-

Of course, I mispelled "fiscal": bound to happen if I said I was any good at French!

Ref invoices, I have the original invoices for the plans, ply, and some of the epoxy which was bought in the UK. Also I have photos of me building the "flatpack" items like hullsides, bulkheads etc. in the shed I built specifically for it there (well, it sold the house for me so it was not completely wasted- the buyer wanted to grow cactuses in it), but since I was younger by a few years or so in the photos they might not think it's me.

The alloy masts I have had made in Colchester and VAT paid on it there waiting to be delivered to my new address in UK. I will purchase an engine in the UK.

Galway Bay -When negotiating the shipping details and price I was advised to get in touch with the import offices in Portsmouth who have advised me along the lines you suggest, to acquire a C3 form and include the boat as a personal possession along with the rest of our things. According to them, no VAT should be payable on that basis.

How do they value a boat like a Wharram for VAT? Also, I will be taking one hull over at a time, that should confuse them even more!

This is a kind of riddle I have made up:

What kind of boat will have made a double Channel crossing before she is launched?

Answer: my Tiki 31

I hope to entertain the officials with the long and drawn out tale and I hope that they won't find me certifiable....

Thanks Jean-Paul, that's very clear and useful. - Ian

Hello again. I have now shipped the boat from Guernsey to UK  (Midlands).

I have had to trailer each hull individually as combined width of hulls is just too much for standard trailer UK.

I am now combining hulls on beams at Redhill Marina by the M1 near Nottingham UK.

I can't launch her there on full beam width but may do so on jury beams to get below Nottm 2014, to sea.

Re customs I had no problem declaring on the C3 form of household removal. No VAT. No problem.

I have now shifted this boat 5 times from different workshops  and must be an expert (having turned hulls singlehanded also)

I towed her on a converted (by me) RM Trailer I had constructed for moving beams, with a Landrover Defender 110. She did 200 miles each time from Portsmouth on half a tank of fuel. I had a lot of ratchet straps on the  hull and she didn't move a mm even over that apology for a motorway :the m27.

I have some photos to post soon.

do wharram tiki 30 plans have official certification of quality issued by lloyds or any official entity worldwide recognized?


I don't know, to be honest. Your query I assume is for "similar" Wharram boat, as the 31 is different. My initial enquiries re certification in UK haven't brought this up, also I had no queries from the Insurer on that score. You should ask Wharram.

Right now I am protecting the boat onshore from the recent gales. She is pegged down having had a blow off trailer in Guernsey a year or two ago, I know to be careful.

Best regards  Ian

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