The information provided in this article has been superseded since its publication in 2013, most recently by new legislation introduced in April 2022.

For up-to-date information about red diesel use in boats within the UK, please see our guide to the April 2022 tax changes.

The use of red diesel in boats came under fire recently as the British Government were asked to change the legislation making it illegal to use red diesel in boats. However, on 24th July HMRC indicated that they plan to contest the European Commission on this matter.

Under the proposed laws, red diesel in boats will only be legal for fishing. Therefore, luxury yachts and other vessels that are used for private purposes will not be able to use red diesel, according to the European Commission.

Currently, private boats are only permitted to use red diesel for domestic purposes, such as cooking. However, when it comes to moving the vessel, regular white diesel needs to be used. This law has been in place since 2008, when the European Commission wanted to change the law but had to settle for a compromise.

Leisure boats would be unable to access some parts of the coast if the new legislation is to be introduced, as the Government and other boating association believe that fuel suppliers will stop delivering to leisure boaters.

This is not the first time the European Commission have tried to get the UK to change its law. In 2011, they began proceedings against the country, stating that they were violating EU law.

In order to support the boating industry and all related trades, the planned legislation will be contested by the British Government.

So as to put together a reply to the European Commission, the Government and HMRC have been working carefully with the Royal Yachting Association and the British Marine Federation.

If the new regulation was to be introduced, this would mean that private boaters that lived in isolated areas would find it problematic to access diesel. As presently the majority of vessels in those regions are angling vessels, which are permitted to use red diesel.

If you would like to discuss your fuel requirements for your boat, continue giving our red diesel experts a call today on 0330 123 3773 to learn more and see how we can help you.