Navigation under Belgian Pavilion

Record your boat in Belgium

Do you want to record your pleasure boat without beating French flag? This is possible because you can choose a complacency pavilion and another nationality for your boat. The Belgian pavilion has long been in great demand because of its multiple advantages. What about today ? Can we still freely choose this pavilion? takes stock.

The Belgian pavilion requires renewal every 5 years, and is subject to the payment of a degressive tax depending on the age of the boat

Need advice? Contact one of our advisers!


The advantages of the Belgian pavilion

 Boat recorded in Belgium



It is not compulsory to be a Belgian citizen to obtain the pavilion, but we must at least be a tax resident of the country, whether one is a natural or legal person (company).

Beat Belgian pavilion authorizes the boating to navigate with any engine boat, regardless of its power, without navigation permit.

It is also interesting for boaters because it does not recognize the navigation categories, only the categories determined by the manufacturer. Thus, it is possible to navigate in the Hauturière zone and in a semi-haututor zone without a specific permit and without having on board certain safety equipment such as the survival raft.

However, these advantages are now exclusively reserved for Belgian residents.


Finally, like France, Belgium changes administrative procedures. It merges registration and flag request into a single procedure: registration.

The Blue Economy Act and the end of the advantages of the Belgian Pavilion

The opening of intra -community boundaries within the European Union in 1993 authorized the navigation of all pleasure boats of all nationalities on the whole of its territory. It was enough to respect the regulations of the country whose pavilion was displayed to navigate in good standing. It was at this point that the Belgian pavilion was a great success for many European nationals because it was less strict than many others.


But when the Leroy law for the blue economy is promulgated on June 20, 2016, it rings the death knell for the craze of French boaters for the Belgian pavilion. Indeed, since that date, navigation in French territorial waters must comply with French legislation, regardless of the wooded pavilion, as if the boat was beating the French pavilion. It is therefore necessary to comply with the safety and navigation rules: compulsory permit variable depending on the area, essential safety equipment on board, etc.


The text of law n ° 2016-816 of June 20, 2016 explains it in these terms:

"In order to encourage the pleasure sector,

Art. L. 5241-1-1.- Whatever their pavilion, pleasure vessels and nautical nautical vehicles belonging to natural or legal persons with their main residence or their head office in France as well as pleasure ships and Engine nautical vehicles of which these people have enjoyment are subject, in French territorial waters, to all rules relating to the lines of driving of ships and the armaments and safety equipment applicable on board pleasure ships and Nautical vehicles with a French flag engine. "


Of course, this law only applies in French waters. When you leave them, you again apply the rules of the Belgian pavilion.


Thus, the Belgian pavilion has lost its appeal for French boaters who sail on French territory. An additional blow was brought to him with the right of passport.


The implementation of the right of passport for foreign boats


In France, the annual francization and navigation law (DAFN) is a tax that applies to a pleasure boat that beats French flag if:

  • Its hull length reaches or exceeds 7 meters, regardless of its motorization power
  • Its shell length is less than 7 meters but it is equipped with an engine of at least 22 administrative CVs
  • Its actual power reaches or exceeds 90 kW for a nautical vehicle with motor (VNM).


In order to avoid the choice of a pavilion of convenience as the Belgian pavilion to escape this annual tax, France has set up a right of passport for all other boat nationalities. Its amount is strictly identical. It simply varies, like the DAFN, depending on the hull length and the dilapidation of the pleasure vessel.


Good to know: as of January 1, 2022, DAFN and passport right merger. They become the annual tax on maritime vehicles for personal use, with an amount that remains unchanged, established according to the same criteria.

The disadvantages of the Belgian pavilion


Although Belgium is very flexible on navigation permits and safety equipment, its pavilion still has some drawbacks.

Unlike the French pavilion and the Polish pavilion which are valid for life, the Belgian pavilion is only valid for 5 years. You will therefore have to regularly apply for a renewal for your boat or VNM.


When you ask for your Belgian pavilion letter, you will have to pay a circulation tax if your boat measures more than 7.50 meters. To pay only once, it amounts to € 2478 if the boat is new. For a used boat, it drops by 10% per year of seniority.


Good to know: the deadlines for obtaining the Belgian pavilion are quite long and it takes 2 to 3 months depending on the period to receive your mail.


If the navigation permit exists but remains optional at sea, it is compulsory in certain cases to navigate in Belgian interior waters:

  • If the hull length is greater than 15 meters
  • If the boat can reach the speed of 20 km/h, regardless of its propulsion mode.


Finally, VHF is compulsory on board, with a double VHF if the boat is more than 20 meters long.


Can I avoid VAT by registering a boat in Belgium?

No, you will have the obligation to pay VAT on a new boat if you have it recorded in Belgium as in any other EU country. VAT applies to a new boat bought in a member state or imported from a state outside the EU.

On the other hand, it does not concern second -hand sales procedures between individuals. You will also not have to pay VAT if it has already been acquitted by the previous owner or if you provide navigation exclusively outside the intra -community borders.


Can I take out boat insurance to navigate under Belgian pavilion?

Yes, you can ensure a Belgian flag beating in France. Provider in pleasure boats insurance, April Marine is a partner of They offer different services and guarantees, all risks or third parties according to your needs.


How to register my boat in Belgium?

To record your pleasure boat in Belgium, you can entrust your administrative procedures to boat Our professionals are responsible for the entire registration and obtaining procedure of the Belgian pavilion to the competent Belgian authorities.

If you prefer to opt for the French pavilion, we take care of its recording at the DDTM (Departmental Directorate of Territories and the Sea) of the Maritime district of your choice. We also offer the management of foreign pavilion requests (Dutch pavilion, Polish pavilion, British pavilion).

Navigation under Belgian Pavilion –