From canoes to large river cruisers, you need to licence your boat if you want to keep and use it on our waterways.
Not all rivers and canals are managed by the same authority, known as the Navigation Authority. Different navigation authorities have different licences and fees, you need to contact each one separately, depending on where you want to use your boat:
If you use your boat for any kind of business such as a floating café, renting it out for people to live on or holiday boats, you'll need a business licence.
If the boat is purely for your own private use there are three varieties of private boat licence:
Your licence fee depends on the length and width (beam) of your boat, along with the length of time you want the licence:
In 2018 we carried out a National Review of Boat Licensing.
View all of the the documents related to the consultation process.
Last date edited: 27 January 2021