We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Boats used as hotels with a qualified skipper and crew on board.

Key considerations

Your boat must be in excellent condition and repair if you intend to use it as a hotel.  We may ask for photographs or we may come out to inspect it.

You will need a permanent mooring with facilities such as fuel, water, sewage disposal, commercial waste disposal, secure customer parking and a safe place to board the vessel. If you intend to cruise for the whole of the season in accordance with a pre-published schedule that complies with the guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring we will not require you to have a home mooring.  In these cases you may use the Trust's facilities as you cruise.  You may also need to provide parking and have good vehicle access to the boat so that you can restock any food and drink items you sell on board.

We may allow you to operate one boat using Canal & River Trust facilities, but we will expect you to have access to third party or your own directly managed services if you want to operate two boats or more. You should also detail all of your proposed pick up and drop off points.  We may occasionally give our consent to use visitor moorings for this purpose, but there will be an additional charge for this.

If your boat will remain statically moored in one place please refer to our guidance for a Fixed Location Trading Boat.

We will assess your proposal for impact on local navigational safety, water resource and other operational matters. You should prepare a detailed Operating Proposal to enable us to do this.

Do not commit financially to your proposed business before receiving our ‘in principle’ approval. 

Regulations

As advised above if you intend to cruise for the whole of the season in accordance with a pre-published schedule that complies with the guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring we will not require you to have a home mooring.

On 13 Feb we outlined our plans to provide greater clarity to those boaters who have stated that they will ‘continuously cruise’. A number of boaters have asked for clarification of the legal requirement to cruise throughout the period of their licence and, in particular, what is the minimum distance that should be covered in order to comply with the Trust’s Guidance for Boaters without a Home Mooring. For further details please refer to this page

Insurance

You will need a commercial insurance policy that provides cover to a value of £2m.

You will need an MCA Class V Passenger Certificate if you carry 13 or more passengers. You will need to contact your [local MCA office] for detailed advice about this.

If you carry 12 or fewer passengers you will need a Non-private boat safety scheme certificate an a declaration of compliance with the Small Passenger Boat Code.

 A copy of the Regulations checklist for each sector can be downloaded here.

Boat Licence

All our price list can be found on our Fees and Terms & Conditions pages here.  A copy can also be found on the useful downloads at the bottom of this page.

When the Business Boating Manager has confirmed that your Operating Proposal is acceptable, he/she will forward you a licence application form with the details completed for you to review and return.

Boaters Handbook

The Canal & River Trust and Drifters, the UK’s biggest consortium of hire boat companies, have teamed up to make a new DVD covering boating basics. A companion to the existing popular boaters handbook, it contains lots of 'getting started' tips for hire boaters and new boat owners, as well as important information about how to boat safely.

The DVD can be viewed on our Navigating the Waterways page.

Gold Licences for Business Boats

Gold licences are available for self-drive holiday hire boats, skippered hotel boats and roving traders. Please note that we cannot give you our consent to trade on any moorings on EA waters as we are not the land owner. You will need to obtain consent from the relevant landowners as you travel.  Business Golds are priced at 130% of the cost of the normal Canal & River Trust business licence that applies to your vessel. Please speak to your Business Boating Manager if you would like more information. As with normal Golds, they only run 1 January to 31 December of each year and they are non-refundable.

Other regulations

Other regulations may apply to your business. Please read our General Guidance section and make your own independent enquiries to ensure that you understand and comply with all the regulations relevant to your proposed operation.

Operating Proposal

Please submit an Operating Proposal if you wish to proceed.  Upon receipt of your proposal, we will write and confirm receipt and aim to give you an in principle decision within 6 weeks.  Please note that you may need to obtain planning permission and negotiate agreements for using our property which could take much longer to finalise.

For the assessment of new mooring location there is a non-refundable fee of £90 inclusive of VAT (at standard rate) towards our administration and initial assessment costs.  Cheques are to be made payable to The Canal & River Trust and posted with your Operating proposal. 

Do not commit financially to your proposed business before receiving our ‘in principle’ approval. 

Useful Downloads

Last date edited: 26 July 2016