Short term visitor licences

If you visit or use your boat on our canals and rivers for a short time, you’ll need a licence. You can buy a short term licence at any point of the year. They’re for one week or one month, plus there’s a ‘30-day explorers’ visitor licence.

Before you buy a short term visitor boat licence you will need:

To read the boat licence terms and conditions – it’s the legal bit!

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

What we mean by boat

  • River or canal boats visiting our waterways for a short time from non-Trust navigations
  • ’Rivers only’ licence holders who want to cruise on the canals for a short time
  • Small unpowered, trailed, portable or ‘open boats’ such as canoes, paddleboards, rowing boats or dinghies

Note: If you’re a club or society or you use your boat for business such as a floating café or shop, renting it out for people to live on or holiday boats, you need a boating business licence.

Types of short term boat licence

1. Our standard canals and rivers
2. ‘Rivers only’: only covers:

30-day explorer – ideal for canoes and kayaks

These are only available to trailable boats and visitors with a home mooring on another non Canal & River Trust navigation. These are ideal for canoes, kayaks and paddleboards

Your licence gives you up to 30 days use, which you can use at any time within 12 months of issue. The days do not need to be consecutive. Simply keep a record of each day your boat is on the water (we may ask to see a copy of your records). You can only buy these licences online.

Short term visitor boat licence fees

The fee depends on the length of your boat, plus the length of time you want the licence - one week or one month, and the ‘30-day explorers’ visitor licence. There is a 50% discount on fees for holders of a long term "River Only" boat licence.

What the licence covers

All short term visitor licences allow you to 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 the licence doesn’t include

You don’t get any of the windlasses, keys or cards with your . You can buy these from our online shop. And windlasses are available from most local chandleries. Passage on the Anderton Boat Lift, and the Ribble Link are also not included.

Set up or renew your boat licence

Already to pay for your licence? If you already have a boat licence account, go to our web licensing portal. If you're new to boating, you'll need to go to the portal and set up a new account. Click the sign in button on the top of this page when you're ready or to go to our web licensing portal now. 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