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VAT - Importing US vessel into EU - CE-Mark

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 27, 2008 05:03 PM

Published: 2008-07-27 17:03:41
Countries: Madeira , USA , Ireland

Dear Sir,

Due to the favourable exchange rate my wife and I are considering buying a 1984 Westerly in the US and sailing her to Europe (we live in Ireland). I understand that despite her age she'd still be liable for EU-VAT.

While we'd be keen to see the Irish Tricolour fly from the stern, we are nonetheless considering registering her in a EU-country with a more lenient tax regime. Do you think Madeira would be a realistic option?

On the matter of registering, I have heard that a vessel like the one mentioned above might (due to her age) be liable to be checked/scrutinized in order to qualify for a European "CE" safety mark. In your opinion, is this actually being enforced, and if so, is it an arduous process or more of a (costly?) formality?

Thank you in advance for any advice you might have for us.

Kind Regards & Fair Winds (I'm a fan of your two books, too!)

Henrik Heckmann, Dublin


You are right: some countries may insist on a safety certificate for such an old boat.

Madeira is a good option, but do make sure that they still offer a reduced VAT rate and also, most importantly, that you have access to an agent who will not over-estimate the value of your boat. Also, as far as I know, you must get the boat to Madeira.

My honest advice is to import the boat into Ireland and pay VAT. The value cannot be that much for a boat that age... talk first to a surveyor/valuer who is accredited by Irish Customs.


Jimmy Cornell

Noonsite also recommended that they read the following article on noonsite:-
Paying VAT on an imported boat