Do’s and Don’ts on the sale of red diesel

Published on: 23 May 2023

red diesel

This is a reminder to marine businesses who are Registered Dealers in Controlled Oil (RDCOs) of their legal obligations when selling red diesel. Failure to meet the obligations could result in a business losing its RDCO status and, if Customs & Excise identify repeated failures, it could cause the Government to stop recreational boaters in Great Britain from being able to buy red diesel with its variable duty rates. This is why British Marine, in partnership with the RYA, is raising awareness of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ when it comes to sale and purchase of red diesel. 

Whenever buying red diesel recreational boaters must declare the percentage of fuel that will be used for propulsion versus the percentage that will be used for domestic use, as only the latter is eligible for lower fuel duty. Boaters are being advised to avoid assuming a split of 60 percent for propulsion and 40 percent for domestic if that does not reflect the intended use.   

Whilst marina operators, along with other RDCOs selling red diesel, are not responsible if a boater makes a false declaration, they must meet their duties as set out in Excise Notices 192 and 554.  The key points to note are summarised below: 

Do …

  • Do take reasonable precautions and care to only make sales / supplies to customers who have a legitimate use
  • Do stay accountable for all sales /supplies by carrying out appropriate checks on all your customers and to be satisfied of their integrity
  • Do keep records to show adherence to the law, including declarations by recreational boaters and records of when recreational boaters purchase fuel claiming 100 percent is to be used for non-propulsion 
  • Do report any suspicions of fraud to Customs via or by calling the Customs Hotline: 0800 788 887
  • Do maintain robust training of your staff on RDCO responsibilities 

Do not… 

  • Do not ignore potential fraud 

If you would like you require further advice or support with training on the above please email us at


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