Feedback from RYA members on the new Pleasure Craft Report Service (sPCR) launched by Border Force last month has been mostly positive, although there have been some reported teething problems.
As the border isn’t closely monitored, it may be tempting to some recreational boaters to not bother with the reporting process. However, entering or departing from the UK without reporting is an offence for which a criminal penalty is in place.
There have been some common themes in the questions that the RYA Cruising team have received regarding the service. In particular, it is useful to note that you do not declare your outward and return trips at the same time. Each voyage is individual. If you are using sPCR you should submit your voyage plan at least two hours in advance, but no more than 24 hours before you depart every time you undertake a trip which involves either departing from the UK for a destination overseas, or entering the UK from a foreign port.
If you’re unable or don’t want to use sPCR you can use the pleasure craft report sPCR fallback template to make a report using an Excel Spreadsheet, or the original C1331 can be printed, completed and posted. All three options can be accessed on the GOV.UK website.
As sPCR is currently undergoing live beta testing, the RYA has been informed by Border Force that there may be unexpected service outages. If you do not have the technology onboard to be able to report using the fallback spreadsheet, the RYA advise boaters to keep printed copies of C1331, stamps and envelopes onboard, so you are still able to comply with the reporting requirements.
Reporting may feel like an unnecessary inconvenience but the RYA is encouraging recreational boaters to comply with the law. Recreational boaters are currently free to arrive anywhere in the UK and similarly to depart from anywhere. If the reporting procedures are not routinely complied with then specified ports of entry (or departure) could be implemented by Government.
If you are having problems with sPCR the Border Force Help Desk can be contacted via email: email@example.com. The RYA have been assured that this email address is monitored 24/7.
If you are a RYA member and have any questions regarding the sPCR or any other boating abroad questions, please visit the Cruising hub on the RYA website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.