Long term boat licences

If you keep and use a boat on our canals and rivers, you’ll need a licence. You can buy your long-term licence at any time of the year. They start on the first day of the month and last for either three months, six months or 12 months.

Mooring in autumn Mooring in autumn

Note: you can only buy a three-month licence if you have a home mooring.

What do I need to do before I buy a long-term boat licence?

You will need to read the boat licence terms and conditions:

Private boat licence terms and conditions


If your boat has an engine or motor of any sort and/or any kind of heating, lighting, cooking facilities, toilet or electrical systems then you will also need a Boat Safety Scheme (BSS) certificate.

What do we mean by boat?

What types of long-term boat licence are there?

If you use your boat for business, such as a floating café, renting it out for people to live on or as a holiday boat, or a boat share where one owner has a majority share and/or manages everything for a fee or service charge, you need a boating business licence.

If your boat is purely for your own private use, there are two options. Regardless of whether you have a home mooring or you are continuously cruising, you’ll need either:

our standard canal and river licence


a ‘Rivers only’ licence, which covers:

How much does a long-term 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 for - three months (home moorings only), six months or 12 months.

You can only buy a three-month licence if you have a home mooring. It is not available to continuously cruising boats.

Are there licence fee discounts?

Yes. If you renew your boat licence before it expires, you can get a 2.5% prompt payment discount off your licence fee. To qualify for the discount you need to complete your application before the start date of the licence and also pay in full or by direct debit. There is also a discount of 2.5% for renewing online.

There are a number of other licence fee discounts. Please read our terms and conditions for details:

Private boat licence terms and conditions

What does the licence include?

All long-term licences allow you to keep and use your boat on our waters. You also get access to some boaters’ facilities, such as water points. See our boaters’ services pages for details.

What doesn't the licence include?

You don’t get windlasses, keys or cards with your licence. You can buy these from our online shop. Windlasses are available from most local chandleries. 

There may also be booking fees or service charges for things like passage on a specific date or time, such as on the Anderton Boat Lift, or for pre-bookable moorings. Please see our booking portal for more details.

You can also pay your boat licence by calling our customer service team on 0303 040 4040.

Want to know more?

Last date edited: 2 August 2022