Pleasure Boat licences

A Pleasure Boat Licence issued by the Council applies to specific individual boats including sailboards, rowing boats, canoes, motor boats, pedaloes etc which are hired out for customers to use, or boats run by you to carry paying passengers.

A licence from the Council is required for anyone wishing to use a vessel for commercial charter as a pleasure boat that is under 24 metres in length, does not carry any more than 12 passengers and does not undertake voyages which go out to sea.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency licence boats carrying more than 12 passengers.

Boatman licences

To hire out boats or other craft you must also apply to the Council for a Boatman Licence.

Application process and fee

The fee for a Pleasure Boat Licence is £294 (£308 from 01/04/2024) for one year or £821 (£859 from 01/04/2024) for three years. The fee for a Boatmans Licence is £47 (£49 from 01/04/2024).

For new applications only, applicants may pay 5% less when making an application. If you do, you would then be invoiced for this amount plus £20 for the additional administration cost, when the licence has been issued.

We have also produced a set of Pleasure Boat Conditions which will be attached to your licence.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent does not apply to Pleasure Boat licences or Boatmans licences.

It is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from the us within a reasonable period, please contact us. You can do this online, if you applied through, or use the contact details below.

How to apply

You can apply for a Pleasure Boat licence in two ways:

Along with your application you will need to submit an Engineers Report concerning the condition of the boat(s).

Boatmans licences are not covered by the EU Services Directive so you must apply for your Boatmans licence by downloading our Boatmans Application and you will need to pay using our Make a payment page.

Both licences are renewable annually.

If you sell your boat(s) to someone else who intends to hire them out please let us know.

Failed application redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a licence can appeal to their local Magistrates’ court.

Licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to their licence can appeal to their local Magistrates’ court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you – preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked can offer advice on Consumer Protection Rights.

Trade associations

You may find the following organisation useful:

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