The Brexit agreement does not include specific rules regarding recreational boating. | Archive


The ANEN national association of nautical businesses is immersed in negotiations with Spanish authorities which aim to minimise the negative effects of Brexit on recreational boating. The Brexit agreement does not include specific rules that directly affect recreational boating. Over the next eleven months, bilateral or reciprocal agreements may be arrived at and which make the effects more flexible.

The nautical sector faces a challenge because of the economic impact of British tourists and residents on recreational boating activity in Spain and because of the representation that the UK nautical industry has in Spain. With companies in the nautical sector facing changes that affect their business, ANEN has prepared a guide to the main consequences of Brexit.

From January 1, 2021, in accordance with current Spanish regulations, British citizens can skipper boats registered in the United Kingdom but cannot continue to benefit from the recognition of their nautical qualifications to skipper recreational boats under the Spanish flag, as the UK is now considered to be a third country. The same applies to boats for charter-hire.

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ANEN is working with the General Directorate of the Merchant Marine so that UK nautical qualifications are recognised in Spain. Spanish nautical charter (rental) regulations allow vessels destined for charter to display both the Spanish flag and any EU flag, but as of January 1, vessels of under 14 metres and under the UK flag cannot be engaged in nautical rental activity in Spanish waters. In order to do this, the flags of these vessels must be changed and their maritime registration has to be any EU country.

This is another issue on which ANEN is working with the directorate so as to find solutions and benefit an activity that is increasingly taking centre-stage in the nautical sector.

The departure of the UK from the EU means, among other things, that the flow of vessels between Spain and the United Kingdom will no longer be considered an intra-community operation and will be subject to customs formalities. With regard to the IEDMT matriculation tax, if the person using the vessel flagged in the UK is a resident of that country, the tax would not accrue so long as it complies with the limitations established in the tax regulations.

The ANEN guide considers other tax implications of Brexit. The guide can be consulted via the ANEN website (, the direct link being