The French government has announced a process to allow entry to cruising yachts at any French port, in a significant step forward for sailors post-Brexit.
The rules after the UK left the EU had been that sailing yachts would have to check in at specific ports of arrival, vastly hampering cruising freedom and coming with a possible safety risk as well.
But now the Cruising Association has announced: “Now, as a direct result of the Cruising Association’s efforts, the French government has announced a process to allow entry at any French port.
“A form is now available from web sites which can be downloaded, completed and submitted by email to the local administrative Port of Entry prior to arrival.
“Providing all is acceptable, boats may then enter another port.
“This is already underway for Le Havre and other ports will follow on rapidly.
“This is a significant improvement and removes a major hurdle for boats visiting France; something CA members and other boat owners will value.”
A Cruising Association spokesman explained that since leaving the EU, boats arriving in France from the UK or Channel Islands would have been required to sail to one of a small number of “Ports of Entry” (mainly ferry ports) and search out the relevant authorities – usually the Police aux Frontières – to register the arrival of their boat and crew.
This same process of going through a Port of Entry would also be necessary before departing France for the UK or Channel Islands (or any non-Schengen country), “presenting CA members, and other sailors coming from the UK to France, with a potential problem for many passages”.
The association said: “Two of the Cruising Association’s Honorary Local Representatives have been aware of this extra challenge to cruising for some time and have been working with the local marinas, the marina associations and local officials to try and simplify it.”