Pleasure boats

This contains information on the customs provisions applicable to commanders of pleasure boats entering or leaving the Swedish customs zone, that is to say Swedish land, sea and air territory, on their own keel.

The provisions apply to —

  1. Pleasure boats which arrive from or leave for another EU member state or a country which is not a memberstate of the EU.
  2. Swedish pleasure boats returning to Sweden after having left the Swedish customs zone and having gone out into international waters.
  3. regardless in which country the pleasure boat and the persons on board are domiciled.

Note that in certain cases entry to and departure from Sweden has to occur at particular places. See also the section on “Special provisions under the Schengen cooperation agreement for checks on persons".

What is a pleasure boat?

Pleasure boat refers to a boat which is not used commercially and which does not carry anything other than essential supplies and provisions for the journey as well as the personal.

What to do on arrival

A pleasure boat which arrives from another EU memberstate and has passed international waters or an international fairway is subject to a duty of notification. This means that taxable goods on board must be reported without delay to a Customs office and declared to Swedish Customs, see the section headed “Customs offices in coastal areas".

Notification may be made verbally. If the time of arrival at the customs office falls outside normal opening hours, notification must be made by telephoning the Swedish Customs National Communications Centre, +46 (0) 8–405 05 70.

If the pleasure boat is only carrying goods which those on board are not obliged to report, the boat may be taken directly to a place other than an area with a customs office. In this case the commander does not need to notify Swedish Customs.

On the other hand,the duty of notification still applies if the pleasure boat has to be declared as such (reported under the customs procedure Transition to Free Circulation) or has to be reported for other approved customs clearance.

The pleasure boat may need to be declared, for example if it has been purchased in a country outside the EU.

What are you allowed to bring or carry on board?

Goods, which a pleasure boat carries to the Swedish customs zone from a country, which is not a member state of the EU, must be declared.

Information on provisions carried must be provided in writing if a customs officer requests it. The duty of notification does not apply if the goods are duty-free essential supplies, or if the goods maybe freely imported by the persons on board.

Goods which may be freely imported refers to goods which may be imported into the country without payment of duty or other charges and are not covered by import restrictions.
The customs office decides whether an item of goods which remains on board the pleasure boat may be used or consumed on board. In addition, the customs office may decide that an item of goods, for which use or consumption on board is not permitted, must be kept under customs supervision until it is cleared through customs or otherwise re-exported. Goods, which are under customs supervision, may not be taken on board or taken ashore from the pleasure boat without the consent of the customs officer. Other good that has to be declared for Customs are pet dogs and cats, firearms and dangerous articles.

Goods which are imported from another EU member state are mainly covered by the principle of free movement of goods in the internal market of the EU. There are, however, some Swedish exceptions to this principle.
Further information about what applies to the importing and exporting of goods (such as alcohol and tobacco) for travellers from or to another EU member state can be found in this website. 

Exceptions apply for instance to goods covered by import restrictions.

Always contact Swedish Customs if you are in any doubt as to what can be imported into Sweden.

What to do on departure

Notification that a pleasure boat is due to leave the Swedish customs zone may be made verbally to the most appropriate customs office. If the boat only has goods which may be freely exported on board, the boat may depart from a place other than where there is a customs office and the commander in that case does not need to notify Swedish Customs.
Goods which may be freely exported refers to a gift or sample of goods with a value not exceeding SEK 2,000, as well as travel equipment, provisions and other objects, including sports equipment, for personal use, provided the goods are not covered by any export restrictions.

Customs control

A customs officer or an officer of the Swedish Coast Guard has the right to hail vessels in the Swedish customs zone. A pleasure boat which is hailed must stop immediately. Hailing is done by the signal L or SO being given by semaphore, radio or Morse code in the form of light or sound or by a stop paddle being shown.
Hailing can also be done by verbal address, by a prolonged sound on the siren or another acoustic device or in some other unambiguous way.

Everyone on board is obliged to provide the information and present the documents requested for customs control. A customs officer or an officer of the Swedish Coast Guard has the right to examine all compartments on board a pleasure boat to check the information which has been provided. They may also request that the boat be taken to another place where the examination can be conducted in a satisfactory manner.

The commander of the pleasure boat is obliged to provide necessary assistance in the examination. A customs officer or an officer of the Swedish Coast Guard has the right to seal or lock the compartments on board and also to take other actions which are necessary for customs control.

Special provisions under the Schengen cooperation agreement for checks on persons Pleasure boat traffic within the Schengen area

Provided the persons on board a pleasure boat are citizens of a Schengen state and that no place outside the Schengen area is visited, entry to and departure from Sweden may occur without there being an obligation to notify the police authority.

Pleasure boat traffic to or from a place outside the Schengen area

Entry for pleasure boats arriving in Sweden from a place outside the Schengen area or leaving Sweden for a place outside the Schengen area must take place regardless of citizenship at border crossing points during fixed opening hours. All persons on board must be able to present approved travel documents.

Customs offices in coastal areas

You can find the opening hours of the customs offices in this link.

If you need help finding opening hours for Customs offices: Swedish Customs National Communications Centre
Telephone: +46 (0) 8–405 05 70
Fax: +46 (0) 8–654 06 11
E-mail: tuk@tullverket.se

The national communications centre is open 24 hours a day.You can also contact the Swedish Customs via our nationwide switchboard: +46 (0) 771-520 520 or our Information Service:+46 (0) 771-520 520 (Call rate®: National).

Last updated: 2019-11-26

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