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FAQs on boat licence changes

We recently announced changes to boat licences. Here is all you need to know about the new considerations you’ll need to take in to account when buying or renewing your licence.

Who will be required to provide proof of a mooring agreement?

To ensure that the correct fees are applied we are asking those making a change to their mooring status to provide proof of their mooring.

This will affect boaters changing their mooring status, for example:

  • a boater who has been a continuous cruiser but now have a home mooring 
  • a boater who is changing from one mooring site to another 
  • a new boater and has a home mooring 

Those changing their mooring status will need to update their mooring status and provide supporting evidence that can be verified before we can renew their licence. We are strongly advising those affected to do this at least 28 days ahead of their licence renewal date.   

We are also encouraging boaters with an existing home mooring to upload proof of their mooring when they re-licence their boat. You can see an example of a mooring agreement below.

What proof will you accept to confirm a mooring?

We will accept proof of a mooring of six months or more with a signed (e-signature is acceptable) and dated mooring agreement, including the following information,

  • name and address of mooring site
  • boat name and index number of the boat
  • the start and end date / duration of the mooring agreement

We may also require proof of payment.

It may also be possible to ask your mooring provider to complete our ‘Confirmation of mooring form’, which will ensure that all the necessary information is provided.

Example of a mooring agreement:

A document showing the mooring name, address, date of agreement, boat name and index number, and signed and dated by mooring provider.

What if I pay for a mooring on a month-by-month basis?

If you pay for your mooring monthly you will initially pay the CC surcharge, but when you can provide consecutive monthly invoices for six months or more, we will retrospectively refund any CC surcharge.

How will I be required to provide proof of a mooring agreement?

You will be asked to upload the proof of your mooring to your online licensing account when you buy or renew your licence. We appreciate that some customers do not use online licensing, so we will accept proof of mooring sent by post, however, if it is easier your mooring provider could be asked by you to email us the proof of your mooring on your behalf.

I’ll be taking a home mooring for the first time, do I need to provide anything else?

If you are a new boater taking a home mooring or a continuous cruiser taking a home mooring for the first time, your mooring agreement must be for six months or more and also run to the end of your licence period. If the mooring agreement does not run to the end of your licence you will be asked to provide further proof of a mooring agreement to cover the remaining licence period. If no further proof of a mooring is received your mooring status will revert to continuous cruiser and the additional charge will be applied pro-rata.

How long will you hold the proof of a mooring agreement?

Our privacy schedules mean that the proof of mooring documents will be deleted after 12 months (but may be deleted sooner).

My home mooring is a Canal & River Trust Waterside Mooring, if required, do I still need to provide proof of mooring?

Yes, you will need to provide proof of this as your home mooring. The invoice you receive from Waterside Mooring would be the proof required (not the renewal invitation you receive before the mooring renews). You will need to upload this to your online licence account, or if you are not able to do this yourself you can ask the Waterside Mooring team to send the proof of your home mooring to the licensing team on your behalf. To allow commercial separation and ensure that Waterside Moorings has no advantage over other commercial mooring providers our licence and mooring systems are separate, and our licensing team do not access this information.

If I’m a continuous cruiser and I take a short-term mooring or a temporary winter mooring, will I be entitled to a refund on the CC additional fee for the period?

We will only refund the CC surcharge where you take a mooring for your boat of six months or more.

Short-term moorings or temporary winter moorings of fewer than six months will not be eligible for a refund on the CC additional fee.

How will the additional fees affect houseboat licences?

The increases to the wide beam additional fees will apply to houseboat licences where appropriate.

Will the CC additional fee apply to those who own a butty boat in addition to my powered boat?

Yes, the additional fee for boats without a home mooring would apply to both the licence for the powered craft and the licence for the butty. Butty boats that meet the discount criteria would still be able to have this applied.

Will the additional fees apply to Roving Trader licence?

Yes, the additional fees for boats without a home mooring and wide beams would apply to Roving Trader licences where boats meet the relevant criteria.

Do the additional fees apply to business boats?

Yes, with the exception of skippered passenger, trade plates, safety and work boats.

If I’m a continuous cruiser (CC) and I take a mooring, will I be entitled to a refund on the CC additional fee and how will that be calculated?

Any refund would be subject to us receiving satisfactory proof of the mooring. The refund would be applied pro-rata for full months from the date you notify the Trust of the change of mooring status. For changes made midway through a licence any refund would be subject to a £30 administration fee.

If I have a mooring and wish to become a continuous cruiser, will I have to pay the CC additional fee?

Yes, once you notify us that you have given up your mooring and become a continuous cruiser, we will calculate pro-rata the CC additional fee you will need to pay.

Will the Gold Licence be increasing in 2024?

Yes. The Gold Licence increases are applied from January each year based on the increases that the Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency have applied to other licences in the previous April.

From January 2024 the Gold Licence will be increasing by 10%.

Will the CC additional fee be applied to Gold Licences?

Yes. The CC additional fee will be applied to boats without a home mooring on the Trust’s waters that have a Gold Licence from January 2025.

The Gold Licence already factors in an additional fee for wider boats so the additional wide beam additional fee is not applied to the Gold Licence. If a Gold Licence in purchased for the first time partway through the year, the CC additional fee will be applied pro-rata.

How can I calculate what the cost of a licence will be for my boat?

An online calculator has been created to work out the licence cost (before any discounts are applied). You can use these to calculate your licence fee (including any additional surcharges): 

I can’t afford to pay more – what can I do?

We know that some boaters are on limited or fixed incomes and may find the increases in boat licence prices particularly difficult. If you, or a boater you know, is in this situation, please do get in touch. If you live aboard your boat and are struggling financially, you may be eligible for housing benefit. Our licence support team and boater welfare officers, along with the independent Waterway Chaplains, can help you find additional support.

If I need a wider boat to help me manage a disability (for example requiring a wheelchair or walking aid) I am exempt from the wide beam additional fee, would I be eligible for a discount if I had a longer narrow boat to help me manage a disability?

The standard licence fee is calculated on the length of a narrowboat, but this is not an additional fee, so no length discount is applied for boaters with a disability. If you have a disability, you can request an equality adjustment to help you continue to live aboard, please complete and return the equality questionnaire to us and we will get in touch.

Are the changes to boat licence fees reflected in the boat licence terms and conditions?

Yes, we are updating the boat licence terms and conditions from 1 April 2024 to reflect the changes. The amended document will available as soon as possible.

How will you monitor throughout the year to ensure that people have declared a mooring still have that mooring and have not simply declared it to avoid paying the CC additional fee?

The Trust already has an existing process for verifying moorings, this includes boat checks at mooring sites and monitoring boat movements to spot unusual movement patterns – for example, boats sighted continuously on our canals and rivers without ever appearing to be on their mooring. If we believe a mooring has been falsely declared, unless we received satisfactory proof of a mooring, a boat will be recorded as being a continuous cruiser.

What will you do about unlicensed boats?

Boats that are unlicensed will be dealt with through our enforcement processes. Ultimately, we can, and do, remove unlicensed boats from our waterways.

I own an historic boat; will any additional fees apply and is the discount changing?

The Trust does recognise the significance of keeping historic boats on the waterways and there are currently no changes planned to the discount that can be applied. However, where historic boats meet the criteria for the additional fees they will be applied to the licence.

Last Edited: 25 March 2024

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