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Renting a boat to live on

If you're thinking about living on a rented out boat there are a few checks to carry out before moving in. So if you're thinking of hiring out your own boat read on.

Boats at a city mooring at night

If you go to inspect a possible boat, make sure it's displaying a valid navigation authority licence – for boats on our waterways, a square licence should be in the window facing outwards. This will have the letters ‘SL' clearly marked in the centre if the boat is licensed for static letting and the letters ‘SDHH' if it is licensed for holiday hire.

From 12 June 2017 boat owners are able to apply for a static letting licence for static boats that'll cover all types of boat rental, including long-term renting, Airbnb-style short breaks, and overnight stays. The boat owner will need to have a permanent mooring and should talk to their local planning authority to see if planning permission is needed. The price will be the same as for the current self-drive holiday hire licence.

The static letting licence has more rigorous requirements to make sure that both the boat is safe and that potential renters are fully briefed before spending a night on board. Boat owners will need to have: proof of adequate insurance; a non-private Boat Safety Scheme certificate conforming to hire boat safety standards; a detailed handover document including emergency procedures and contact numbers; a landlord Gas Safety Certificate; and written permission from their mooring provider.

Alongside this, we'll be introducing a new process for dealing with boat owners who may be breaching the terms of their licence by renting out their boat. If a boat is suspected of being rented out illicitly the Trust will contact the registered licence holder, as well as hand posting letters onto the boat itself to alert renters.

The licence holder will be given 28 days to clarify the situation, cease trading if appropriate, or apply for a Static Letting Licence. After this period their licence will be revoked if they continue to rent out their boat.

If you have any doubts ask our customer services team by calling 0303 040 4040 with the boat's name and index number or ask via our web form. Explain that you're thinking of renting the boat and ask them to confirm that it has the right kind of licence.

Please don't rent a boat without the correct type of licence – it will not have been checked by us could potentially be unsafe.

Renting out your own boat

Having a boat as a home is a popular choice for some people and some boat owners are keen to find ways to help offset the costs of owning and maintaining a boat.

If you rent out your boat you'll have a duty of care to those onboard. You'll need to organise a non-private boat safety certificate conforming to hire boat safety standards, commercial insurance and proof that you've gone through the handover procedure correctly.

More about renting can be found in our press release.

Last Edited: 05 October 2022

photo of a location on the canals
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