Because I intended moving to Spain, as a resident, I had been in touch with Spanish Legal Authorities to find out the situation with bringing my boat into the country for UK citizens.








If you are thinking about using the French canals to passage between the UK and the Mediterranean then this booklet contains all the information you need'

 It describes the Routes, the regulations the paperwork - How where and when to get the qualifications and license, the depths, air heights, locks and a whole lot more.

 There are 'charts/maps' throughout, the distances, dimensions & main stopping places and is the only publication to list ALL the possible stopping places on the Rhone River!/

buy here -

If you are just sailing into Spain and intend being in Spanish Waters

for less than 183 days = 6 months in any year:


then really you have no problems. 

You must carry on board your registration certificate (SSR or 'Part 1' for UK boats) your passports, a copy of your insurance documentation and a VHF operators licence. These rules apply to all EU countries for a EU registered boat with EU owner/skipper.

No foreign country can dictate what qualifications or safety equipment a yacht or skipper in their waters must conform to except it should conform to the rules of the country in which the boat is registered. (The UK does not require any qualification to 'drive' a boat so you do not need to carry one.) You may choose to, because not all Spanish Customs/Guardia Civil know that is the UK law! To have a ICC or Yachtmaster is useful.  Authorities from any EU country can require 'proof' that VAT has been paid on the vessel.

If you have property in Spain and a boat in a local port but are personally in Spain for less than 183 days - 6 months of the year, then you also do not have a problem.  It is your 'non residence', not the fact the boat is in Spanish waters that counts. It is sensible to have the boat 'precintado' or sealed by Spanish Customs when you are 'away' in order to prove the less than 183 days of residence/use of the boat.  (The onus of 'proof' is on you to prove you were not in the country - it is not on the Spanish Authorities!)

If you intend sailing into Spain and spending more than 183 days = 6 months in one year -

even if you leave and re-enter  during any 12 month period, then different rules/laws apply:

If you are land based or living in your boat in Spain, for more than 180 days in any 12 month period, then the Spanish Authorities will consider you to be resident in Spain.  (You will remain domicile in your country of origin (e.g. UK) but for Spanish legal and tax purposes you are considered to be a resident of Spain.  

(The same rule applies to France, Netherlands, Greece, Portugal and other EU countries)

If you own a property in Spain and spend more than 183 days = 6 months in Spain in any 12 month period, then the Spanish authorities consider you to be resident in Spain

My guess the above will be true for UK boats after Brexit - maybe!

French Canal Routes to the Mediterranean

Gentle Sailing Route to the Mediterranean

Gentle Mediterranean Routes to the Islands

The Pacific Crossing Guide

Caribbean Islands Cruising Guides

Strait Sailing to Gibraltar

Living Aboard Around the World

Easy Navigation

For my sailing books and French canal guides please go to









You must pay 'Matriculation' tax of 12% of the value of the boat. 

However it is possible to have this Matriculation' tax of 12% waived if you apply for Spanish registration as follows

1.The registration must be applied within the first 30 days from becoming resident in Spain.

2. The boat should have paid the standard taxes in the EU country of origin.

3. The boat should have been owned by you for at least 12 months before of getting the Spanish tax residency.

The ownership who obtain this tax benefit cannot sell the boat before six months.

 Probably need help with this - here

If it is not possible to prove that VAT has already been paid then you would need to pay VAT. (You should be able to prove that it has been paid fairly easily from the boats paperwork)

You will be liable for the annual Tarifa G-5 tax which is effectively a tax on having a boat and varies with the power of the engine and the size of the boat.  Bit like the old 'light dues'. - the same tax exists in France and several other EU countries. It is payable locally.  The 'average' cost for a 12 metre sail boat is probably around 600€ annually. This tax appears to be applied in Valencia but not in other parts of Spain. It is sometimes charged by the marina and included in the berthing fees.

The law in Spain changed in January 2011 and it is no longer required that EU citizens resident in Spain re-flag their boats, so once you have applied for the exemption of the matriculation tax, as in many other EU countries, you will be required to pay the same boat tax as Spanish Citizens. You will be allowed to equip and sail your boat according to the laws of your country of origin.

For UK citizens there are no legal requirements on boat equipment or certificates to allow you to drive your boat, so the same applies in Spain.

 For the re-flagging, matriculation and registering of a UK boat into a Spanish resident boat I have been in touch with:

Alex Chumillas

Tax Marine

Marina Port Vell

C/Escar, 18

08039 Barcelona

+34 667 663 521
+34 932 218 201





Our yachting division 'Taxmarine' provides a scope of services focus in tax and legal assistance on any issue related with the yachting industry. Our new project takes advantage of all our previous experience during all these years and the changes that are taking place in Marina Port Vell which is in the process to be reconverted into a super yacht marina. Our team of economists and lawyers are ready to assist you in any issue connected with your yacht across Spain.


I paid Alex his standard fee and received no favours and none asked. My comments are simply from having a good experience.

I now have a proper 'matriculation' document on board, showing I do not need to pay matriculation tax. The process was pretty easy, although it required me to obtain photocopies of certain documents.

It was all done using email and Alex posted me my tax avoidance certificate a few days after I sent him the final document. A good experience.

I thoroughly recommend you use Alex for this boat registration. Never met the guy, but it was a very professional and trouble free, legal avoidance of the Spanish Tax.



If you are busy with importing your boat without paying the 12% matriculation tax the chances are you have a non Spanish car which if imported into Spain is also liable for this tax on it's 'Spanish value' which is almost certainly higher than the value of it's country or origin. Eventually you will have3 to register the car as Spanish so it's worth saving the 12% tax by getting it 'Spanish Plated within two months of your entering the country as a visitor. Just as with the boat. I don't think this is a DIY job so I used


Graham runs this business and I have just completed importing my Audi, without tax. It was a good experience, and the charge was reasonable but you have to provide more documents than for the boat.  It was worth the effort and Graham sent me by post a set of number plates - he is worth contacting either via the web site or in Spain on


966 753 375
or 605 319 889


As with Alex for the boat, I did it all by email excepting the postage on some original documents. 

The same time conditions and residency requirements as for the boat but rather more documents required.




I had a mechanical breakdown in my car which is insured by


I called their 'help' line and spoke to a very helpful operator who spoke excellent/perfect English. He told me that a 'tow truck' would be with me in half an hour - it arrived in 15 minutes. We were taken to a garage and received a text enquiring if all was going OK?


Shortly after arriving at the garage I received a phone call from Lineadirecta asking if I wanted FOC a car hire for 24 hours or a taxi to my home. I opted for the taxi and was told it would arrive in 25 minutes. 15 minutes later it was at the garage!


I was told to call Lineadirecta back when my car was repaired and they would arrange a taxi to return me from my home to the gargate to collect the car.  All this FOC and not affecting my no claims bonus.


The insurance premium for the car is less than I was paying in France and the cover far better.  I had inquired of several Spanish companies for insurance but all their quotes were higher.


So if you want car/household or whatever insurance in Spain then I really recommend you try

I highly recommend  builders,  who recovered the terrace disaster and installed the  inside staircase with all the works done to the highest standards at very, very reasonable prices.

They cover the entire Andalucía area and Carlos speaks perfect English & German. Email:-


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You will need to open a bank account. Barclays Spain all have at least one person who speaks English.

Transferring money from the UK to your Spanish bank account or to pay for property etc can be a minefield and unnecessarily expensive. I expect there are other good ones, but over the last 15 years or so, I have found HIFIX  to be inexpensive, easy to use, very fast with payments and cheaper than anybody else.

There are no charges for transfers of over £3000 - below that its £9 per transfer. More importantly the exchange rate is displayed as per the UK money market so you can choose to buy your Euros as you see the rate rise or fall. They have very efficient staff to help you at first then afterwards you can do it all on line quickly and easily. There are no charges at the Spanish end of the operation unlike normal 'swift' transfers and the money normally arrives within 2-3 days.

It works like this:

You go to HIFX and choose either to send a fixed amount of Euro to Spain or the Euros that a fixed amount of Pounds will buy.

You do the deal with HIFX at the moment you see the best rate of exchange displayed and HIFX issues a 'note' telling you how much you now owe them.

 You go to your UK bank account and make a 'normal' transfer to HIFX for no cost and that's it.... Simple huh?

HIFX tell you by email or text that they have received the funds from your UK bank and that they have sent the funds to Spain and its eta...Normally a couple of days.

You can of course use this system for the currency of any country in the world.

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