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Boat Regulations.

Officials will occasionally board your boat. Safety equipment may then be inspected to check it is in date (flares, life raft service). You may be asked if you have paid light dues.

Portuguese registered boats have to be fitted with this equipment , which varies according to boat category. Visiting UK craft are assumed to be category 1, ocean going. Visiting  vessels will be required carry this equipment if they spend more than 180 days continuously in Portugal. Some (other flag) vessels based in Portugal have been reminded they should have the boat name on the transom.

There are regulations covering the maximum range tenders and other small craft may wander from your boat. Also, engines are not to be used to approach a beach, except within designated power boat channels.

Taxes. Boats visiting Portugal may be asked to pay two taxes; a circulation tax, and lighthouse dues.

  • Circulation tax (Imposto único de circulação) is payable by Portuguese registered boats with over 20kw engines (just under 27HP) on 1 January, and is scaled to engine power, €2.05 per kilowatt. Foreign flag boats pay if the boat spends a period longer than 182 days successively in any tax year (1 Jan to 31 Dec) in the country. This is easily avoided by briefly visiting Spain and keeping a marina receipt (including the boat name) proving absence.
  • Light Dues (Taxa de Farolagem) should be paid to a Capitania or a Delegação Maritima by visiting boats on first arrival. .  A year's dues depends of the boat's category. Category 1 (ocean going cruiser) costs €56 a year; cat 2 (offshore cruiser) €28. A visitor staying less than 6 months pays €2

Means of Transport (MoT). Cars, boats and planes registered in one EU country may have free circulation within other countries, but length of stay within another country may be limited to prevent evasion of circulation taxes. Most EU countries set a limit of 180 days for cars, but do not set limits for boats. Portuguese law is an exception (there are others) which also requires your boat to be "imported" after 183 days - ie, become completely subject to their own rules. This law is un-evenly applied.

"T2L Declaration". In 2012 a 42ft motor vessel was asked to produce a "T2L declaration". This is an entry within a Single Administration Document (SAD) - a document used for international export and import of freighted goods. It declares "the good" has free circulation within the EU - ie, it originates there or has been properly imported. Further demands for "T2L declarations" have since arisen in Portugal, and also in Croatia.

HMRC challenge this use of T2L as inappropriate. However, they are very helpful, and advise in their SAD document advice:

Where proof of status is required retrospectively, a declaration can be made on Copy 4 of the SAD (C88). This is referred to as a ‘T2L’ declaration. These documents are available by contacting the HMRC VAT helpline on 0845 010 9000.

Those who log in to this site can see correspondence below from those who have experienced the process.


Updated Jul 2018


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