Licensing your canoe

It's not just narrowboats and barges that need a licence on our canals and rivers. All portable, unpowered craft such as canoes, kayaks, dinghies, rowing boats, paddleboards and even light inflatable craft do too.

Why your canoe or kayak needs a licence

Our 2,000 miles of canals and rivers need a lot of TLC to keep them in great shape for everyone to use and enjoy - no matter the size of craft. As well as maintaining things like canal walls or water flow, your licence fee goes towards making sure there are enough easy access points, ramps and slipways for example.

The easiest way to licence your canoe, kayak or paddleboard

British Canoeing logoBuy a British Canoeing ‘waterways licence’. It gives you access to 5,000 of inland waterways, including our canals and rivers. Plus, those waterways managed by the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority. And, if that wasn’t enough, as a member of British Canoeing you’ll also get your combine liability insurance and multi craft insurance to ensure your canoe, kayak or paddleboard is covered. For Welsh canals and rivers see membership details for Canoe Wales.

Just want to paddle on our canals and rivers?

If you live near one of our waterways and just want to explore close to home, here is a list of our fees and details on how to buy your licence though us.

Canoe / kayak / Paddle board licence fees

Canals and rivers long term 12 months


(£51.02 prompt payment)

Canals and rivers short term 30 days explorers* £37.44
  1 month £28.08
  1 week £18.72
Rivers only 1 month £16.85
  1 week £11.23

(All licences are valid from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 and begin on the first day of the month)

  • * Our 30 day explorer licence give you 30 individual day tickets within a 12 month period
  • ‘Portable’ means the boat’s normal crew can, without mechanical help, launch the boat and take it out of the water 
  • If you renew your canoe licence before it expires, you can take advantage of our 'prompt payment discount' 

Buy your canoe / kayak licence online

Pay your fees using your boat licensing online account. Then you can pay for what you need, when you need it. 

Need a bit of help? Watch our how to licence your boat videos first.

You can also find more information on our licences FAQs page

Last date edited: 17 October 2019