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Pleasure boat licence

If you wish to let for hire or use a boat or vessel for carrying passengers for hire; and you are a person in charge of or navigating such boat or vessel you will need a pleasure boat licence and a boatman licence.

The requirement to hold licences does not apply to boats or vessels licensed under Board of Trade Regulations or to those on a canal owned or managed by the British Waterways Board.

​Am I eligible for a pleasure boat licence?

  • You must be over 18 years of age.
  • You must have a full knowledge of all statutory rules, regulations and byelaws applicable to navigate on the water or waters for which the licence is required.
  • You must not suffer from any disease or physical disability which could affect your fitness to assist in the charge of pleasure boats, vessels or craft let for hire.
  • You must hold a valid insurance certificate to cover third party liability in respect of the boats/vessels operated.

What are the laws related to pleasure boats licences?

The Office of Public Sector Information provides a summary of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 Section 94 on their website. You will find a link to this website on the right-hand side of this web page.

How will my application be evaluated?

Applications must be on the correct form and accompanied by:

  • any relevant qualifications certificate;
  • a recent medical form completed by your own doctor;
  • a valid insurance certificate; and
  • such other information we may require to determine if you and the boat or vessel meets the eligibility criteria above.

When we receive an application we will arrange an inspection of the boat or vessel.

Do I need to advertise the applicatio​​n?

No, you do not need to advertise the application.

How much does a pleasure boat licence cost?

There is an application fee which must be paid at the time an application is made.

Will tacit consent apply?

Yes. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from us at the end of 28 days. Where objections have been received to the application, we must determine the application within 56 days. Please contact us if we notify you that objections have been made.

How do I apply for a pleasure boat licence?

To apply for a licence contact the licensing service.


0300 303 8871

Phone: Monday-Friday 8.30am-5.30pm.
Closed for training Monday 11am-11.30am.

Public Protection Service​​
Number One Riversid​e​
Smith Street
Rochdale OL16 1XU