The licensing pages on our website are full of useful information about how to licence your boat with us. Information on these pages ranges from helping you decide which licence to choose to navigation rules and facilities for boaters.
However, if you've already read these pages and cannot find the information you're looking for you might find it in the following list of frequently asked questions.
Where should I send my paperwork to?
Please send any licensing paperwork (licence application forms, licence renewals, refund requests, change of details forms etc.) to:
Canal & River Trust
Boat Licensing Team
PO Box 162
Which navigations can I use with a Canal & River Trust licence?
Here's a list of the navigations we're responsible for. Generally, you'll need a licence from us before you can use your boat on these navigations.
My licence is due for renewal but my current Boat Safety Certificate has expired. What should I do?
We have obligations to ensure the safety of all our customers. For that reason we cannot re-licence a boat that does not have a valid Boat Safety Certificate – we must be sure that the boat’s equipment is safe first.
You won't be able to renew your licence without first supplying us with a copy of your Boat Safety Certificate. If you don't do this it could prevent you from taking advantage of our prompt payment discount. Remember, you can renew your Boat Safety Certificate up to two months before expiry without losing the current end date.
I’ve recently had my boat examined by a Boat Safety Examiner and don’t know what to do with the certificate?
We still need to see your blue copy of the Boat Safety Certificate and this should be posted, by you, to our boat licensing team. If you need to get the details to us quickly we can also accept a fax copy or you scan the certificate and email it to us provided the quality is good enough – we may also need the original blue copy if not.
What is your prompt payment discount and how do I qualify for it?
If you renew your boat licence before of the start date of your next licence you can take advantage of a discounted licence fee. We call this 'prompt payment discount' and it's a 10 per cent discount on the standard fee. To qualify we must receive your payment and correctly completed application along with any necessary enclosures before the start date of the licence. Unfortunately, this discount is only available if full payment is made in advance so it’s not applicable to licences paid for in instalments.
Can I still buy a licence if I don’t have a home mooring?
Yes, you can. if your boat is removed from the water when it is not cruising or you're going to use the boat to cruise continuously (travelling around the network without staying in one place for more than 14 days, or less where indicated). However, this is not a suitable option if you have commitments (such as work, family or school) in one place as you must be engaged in a genuine, progressive journey around the network. Please read our Mooring Guidance for Continuous Cruisers to make sure that this is the best decision for you.
Who can buy a short term visitor licence and how long are they valid for?
These licences are for small, unpowered or trailed boats and larger vessels visiting our waterways for short periods from other navigations or coastal waters. They are not available for boats floating in marinas or moorings connected to our waters. The one exception to this rule is for customers who have a ‘Rivers Only’ licence and would like to extend their licence to cover a short term cruise on Canals.
These licences cover periods of one day, one week, and one month along with a thirty day explorer licence. The explorer licence gives you up to thirty days use of all our waterways in England and Wales at any time within a 12 month period - the days do not need to be consecutive.
It’s important to remember that the Short Term Visitor Licences do not include free passage through the Anderton Lift, Standedge Tunnel or Ribble Link. The costs for these licences can be found on our Short Term Visitor Licence fee sheet.
My boat no longer belongs to me (is no longer in the water) how do I claim a refund on my licence?
You may be entitled to a refund on the unused portion of your licence. In order to claim your refund you should return both your licence discs, along with a completed transfer of ownership/off water declaration form and post them to our boat licensing team.
To work out whether you are eligible for a refund or to calculate the value of your refund you can look at page 22 of our general terms and conditions for boat licences.
I’ve sold my boat and don’t know what information you need?
Remember that we need to know if you have sold the boat with its current licence discs. If you would like a refund on the unused portion you should return both the licence discs to us along with the completed form.
I’ve just bought a boat and it’s got a licence but I’m not sure what to do when it runs out?
Usually the previous owner will have sent us a transfer of ownership form to tell us that the boat has been sold. When we receive this we put a block on the licence so that the old owner doesn’t get reminders to renew the licence for a boat they no longer own. However, we do not update the new owner’s details from this document because they do not always continue to keep the boat on our waters. We also need the new owner to complete an application form and return it, along with payment and any other relevant paperwork, to our boat licensing team before the current licence expires. Unfortunately, you will not be able to purchase your first licence over the phone or using our on-line system.
I usually receive a discount on my licence fee but I can’t see it listed on my renewal document, how do I know that it’s been applied?
Unfortunately, our renewal documents no longer display a breakdown of the discounts applied. However, if you have always received a discount it will still be applied this year. The easiest way to check that you have your discount is by comparing the price on your renewal with the standard fee for your boat length.
I’ve seen some unlicensed boat whilst cruising and would like to report them, who should I speak to?
You can use our online boat checker to log any boats you see which aren't displaying valid licence discs. The boat checker will let you know whether the boat you’ve seen has a valid licence and each fully completed form will be logged in our 'sightings' database and sent to the local enforcement team. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything we can do without the index number.
Does the boat licence include free keys for accessing facilities and locked bridges etc?
No, you need to order these separately from our online shop or from customer services. The most common key is a Yale one that unlocks water points, toilets, Elsan etc. and moveable bridges. Some locks and bridges have anti-vandal ‘handcuff’ type keys – check local information guides.
If we've still not answered your question, or you have but you would like some more information, you can get in touch with us by email or by telephone to 0303 040 4040.
This licence covers navigations managed by both the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency. It can be more a economical way of licensing your boat depending on the time you intend to spend away from your home navigation on any of the waterways covered by this licence.
The licence runs annually from 1st January to 31st December, no matter what point through the year it is purchased. A Gold Licence is non refundable.
More information about the Gold Licence can be found in the Gold Licence information pack for 2013.