Regulations and Technical Services Group

CA Guidance on changes to use of Marine Diesel in Northern Ireland

With effect from 1 October 2021, the UK Government has confirmed it will become illegal in Northern Ireland to refuel private pleasure craft with red (marine) diesel in any tank used for engine propulsion.

The Cruising Association, through our Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS), has been keeping abreast of the situation in order to advise yacht and motor cruisers on the new protocols and steps to take to ensure compliance.

Use of Marine Diesel in EU and Northern Ireland

What colour should your diesel be?

Following the UK's departure from the EU RATS has issued a new advice note (2 June 2021) to members who may be visiting the EU27 and other countries.

In Northern Ireland, since October 2021 it is no longer legal to purchase red diesel for propulsion of private pleasure craft. Red diesel is still sold for private pleasure craft in the rest of the UK, however.

RATS at the Southampton International Boat Show

Come and visit experts from the CA’s Regulations and Technical group, otherwise known as 'RATS', at the Southampton Boat Show and get answers to your burning technical questions.

RATS are hosting drop-in Q&A sessions on both Saturdays, from 1300-1630 hours on 11 and 18 September, with volunteer committee members Robin Baron and Roger Bickerstaff on hand to answer your questions on all matters technical.


Update – UK and EU Tariffs on US Cruising Yachts

Both the UK and the EU continue to impose a 25% customs tariff on the import of US-origin yachts and boats into the EU and the UK.

Red diesel update: delay for Northern Ireland

HMRC has issued Excise Notice 554 which contains details about fuel used in private pleasure craft.


Update to HMRC Brexit Rules

HMRC has made a further revision to the VAT 'Returned Good Relief' (RGR) rules that now apply to yachts following the end of the Brexit transition period. The headline news is that the "grace period" allowed for the return of yachts from the EU to the UK without VAT being due has been extended from 31 December 2021 to 30 June 2022.

The CA received the following statement from the Stakeholder Engagement Team of HM Revenue and Customs:

White diesel, what white diesel?

From 30 June non-commercial vessels wishing to refuel in Northern Ireland must do so with white diesel. What’s the snag? There are no marine white diesel pumps in Northern Ireland, and demand is insufficient for commercial operators to make provision.

The Cruising Association welcomes Spring Budget decision on red diesel

The Cruising Association (CA) is delighted that the government has reviewed its proposals for the reform of UK red diesel regulations for marine craft, as announced in yesterday’s Spring Budget. It has concluded that removing the entitlement to use red diesel in the commercial sector, including water borne freight, ferries, fishing vessels, operating at sea or inland, would have had a detrimental effect on their finances and viabilities.

Red diesel and the validity of the Istanbul Convention of 1990

Marine red diesel is still on sale to leisure vessels in the UK, despite the Government’s plans to phase it out following a judgment from the European Court of Justice. Now that Britain has left the EU, red diesel will continue to be legal for the propulsion of vessels in the UK until April 2022. However, red diesel in crafts’ engine tanks is not permitted in the EU27 and other countries.

Brexit Sailing Issues Addressed in Cruising Association RATS Webinar

The key Brexit issues affecting the sailing community have been addressed in a recently held Brexit Special Webinar entitled "Brexit Issues for Cruisers", the contents of which was researched and presented by members of the Cruising Association (CA) Regulations and Technical Services group (RATS).