Buy your boat licence

From canoes to large river cruisers, you need to licence your boat if you want to keep and use it on our waterways.

What you need to get a boat licence 

 Before you buy a boat licence you will need:

What we mean by ‘boat’:

What type of licence?

Where do you want to keep and use your boat?

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: 

We have two types of licence: business or private

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:

  1. Long term – if your boat is always on our waters
  2. Short term – if your boat is small, like a canoe, or you’re visiting from other waterways
  3. Gold - this combines the Canal & River Trust and EA licences into one licence – bargain!

How much does a private boat licence cost?

Your licence fee depends on the length and width (beam) of your boat, along with the length of time you want the licence:

Boat licensing consultations

National Review of Boat Licensing 2018

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