About waterways licences

British Waterways, the Environment Agency and the Broads Authority are the three major navigation authorities in charge of canals, estuaries, inland rivers and harbours in the UK. Most boats wishing to cruise on the inland waterways network will need to be licensed by the appropriate authority. A variety of different licences are available, from annual to visitor licences.

Contact the Environment Agency, British Waterways or the Broads Authority to find out what the registration and licence arrangements are for your area.

With the exception of privately owned open boats, all applications must be accompanied by a valid Boat Safety Scheme certificate.

Every boat must display its current valid navigation certificate and registration number at all times.

For rivers and canals not controlled by the above, you should seek advice from whoever controls the navigation and their licensing requirements.

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