United Kingdom - Facts

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  • The UK left the European Union on 31 January 2020 ending 47 years of membership. Immigration and Customs procedures will have to be carried out by all small craft arriving in the country.
  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland incorporates the three countries of England, Scotland and Wales, the six counties of Ulster in Northern Ireland as well as several smaller island groups such as the Scillies, Orkneys and Shetlands. The Isle of Man, situated in the Irish Sea, has a special status and enjoys a certain degree of autonomy. The Channel Islands enjoy even greater autonomy and are therefore treated separately.
  • With hardly anywhere over fifty miles from the sea, the British Isles has always been a maritime nation and produced some of the greatest sailors and navigators in history, a tradition which has continued into the modern age, when British cruising yachts were among the first to penetrate the furthest corners of the world. Sailing is a national pastime in Britain and the proportion of yachts per head of population is among the highest in the world.
  • The most popular cruising areas are the Solent and Isle of Wight, the south-west counties of Devon and Cornwall, East Anglia and the west coast of Scotland. The British Isles provide a vast cruising ground with plenty of variety, the greatest drawback being the weather, which rarely ensures enjoyable cruising conditions for more than a few days at a time. Most visiting yachts limit their cruising to the south coast, where there is an abundance of yachting facilities, but also an abundance of local craft, resulting in crowded harbours. There are many cruising attractions and more space to be found elsewhere.
  • Mooring facilities vary both in quality and availability. In some of the fishing and commercial harbours, these can be very basic. Not all yacht clubs have their own moorings, but when they do a place can usually be found for a visiting member of an overseas club. There are some 150 purpose-built marinas scattered about the coasts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. All marinas operate on VHF Channel 80, which is monitored during normal working hours. Most marinas keep a number of berths for visiting yachts, however, those on the South Coast are seeing unprecedented levels of demand from resident and visitor berthing due to Covid restrictions and Brexit, so there is very little space to accommodate vessels, regardless of nationality, particularly of the larger sizes over 14m.
  • There are numerous anchorages around the coast. Some areas are restricted to protect marine life. Check the charts.
  • The most comprehensive range of repair facilities is to be found in the area between Southampton and Portsmouth where the biggest names in the British yachting industry are concentrated. It has been said that whatever cannot be fixed there probably cannot be fixed anywhere else in the world.

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United Kingdom was last updated 2 months ago.

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  1. July 27, 2020 at 11:05 AM
    tori says:

    I’m sailing from Norway to Britain with a dog. I’ve come to realize Shetland is a no go port. Is it at all possible for us to sail around Britain with a 35 kilo dog, that has all his relevant documents? He’s been to other European countries over the past 5 years with no problem. Any advice?

  2. May 14, 2020 at 5:08 PM
    watkins-chris says:

    I’m looking of buying a yacht but looking to live on it within either a marina or at a mooring. The yacht would be around 40 foot in length. I’m have trouble finding a marina that allows live aboard while in a marina. Would be grateful if someone can point me in the right direction.

    Many thanks Chris

    1. May 16, 2020 at 8:41 AM
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      Sue Richards says:

      Hi Chris, 100% recommend you join the Cruising Association (CA) and ask their advice. They have a huge membership base in the UK and will be able to let you know the score re. living aboard there.

  3. April 28, 2020 at 8:40 PM
    mrijken says:

    From my own experience a week ago, I can add Yarmouth in the Solent as a port for supply/shelter during corona shutdown for yachts in transit.

  4. December 14, 2016 at 11:43 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YACHTS VISITING THE UK

    It is important to remember that the UK is not part of the Schengen Area Agreement, so it is necessary for any boat with non-EU nationals on board to clear with UK Immigration (many non-EU visitors would be granted a 6-month visitor’s visa).
    Failure to report means you are illegal immigrants!

    EU citizens automatically have the right to stay (at the moment). The UK leaving the EU will change many regulations.

    Non-EU citizens can only freely move within the Schengen Area (for 90 days in any 180 day period) once cleared into their first designated Schengen country. EU countries outside Schengen must be cleared into in the usual way.

    It is not unusual for those from outside Europe do not understand the difference between the Schengen Area and the EU. For a full explanation see noonsite’s EU page – http://www.noonsite.com/General/EuropeanUnion

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