I read in this article as well as this and this (all in Norwegian, so use Google Translate), that Norwegian Customs control private boats (owned by individuals) coming from abroad, to see if they repaired their boats abroad. The reason for that is that people are supposed to pay tax to Norway for the repair they performed on the boats abroad.

How can the Norwegian Customs ascertain whether a boat was repaired abroad? Let us say that I have a leisure both in terrible condition. I sail my boat down to Poland, where I repair it into tip-top shape for much cheaper than what the cost would have been in Norway. I then sail back to Norway, and upon returning to Norway, customs stop my boat. They can obviously see that my boat is in tip-top condition, but how can they know the boat was in bad condition when i left Norway? How can they know it was not in tip-top condition all along, or repaired in Norway before I left? I may have repaired it myself, or kept it continually maintained, for all they know.

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    The Norwegian tax authorities would know if the boat owner is not able to present an invoice from a Norwegian boatyard. May 30, 2020 at 21:16
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    @DavidSupportsMonica How can they know the boat wasn't in good condition all along? Or that the owner didn't simply repair it themselves?
    – Fiksdal
    May 30, 2020 at 21:21
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    If you repair it yourself yiu will have invoices or bills of sale for the parts and paints used. And any boat needs regular upkeep, any boat owner should have proof of their latest paint job at least.
    – Willeke
    May 30, 2020 at 21:26
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    @Willeke Possibly. For example, a boat may have both sails and an engine, and you used the engine to get to Poland, then repaired the sails. Point taken about invoices for parts though.
    – Fiksdal
    May 30, 2020 at 21:39
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    Some repairs need some paperwork. I don't know about boats, but changing the engine in a car or an airplane would be documented in the vehicle papers which, for cars, include engine block number.
    – Pere
    May 31, 2020 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


If some parts look newer or the boat is in a much better shape than expected based on age, they can demand to see invoices and details of where and when the boat was serviced. If you cannot document the boat maintenance history (which might also be desirable or even mandatory for other reasons) or produce invoices for parts and material, that could be enough to initiate a procedure.

It's the way customs enforcement work in other domains too (consider someone travelling with valuable jewelry or clothes that feel new). It doesn't aim at stopping each and every case but mostly at deterrence (and collecting money) and rules of evidence are lighter or even reversed compared to criminal procedures. I don't know about Norway specifically but typically that would mean that they don't have to positively prove (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) that you had work done abroad. It's enough if they prove that is looks likely that work has been done and then demand when and where it was done. It's then up to you to disprove their assumptions.

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