Boat Licence

Do you need a licence to take your boat out onto the sea and along the shores? While there isn’t strictly speaking a ‘Boat Licence’ in the same way a Driving Licence ensures the efficiency of motorists behind the wheel – boat owners will still need to adhere to certain legal requirements in order to sail a boat in the UK.


Boat Licence


Canal and River Trust or the Environment Agency

VALID FOR 1 year

Apply for a Boat Safety Certificate (BSSC)

Visit the Official Boat Safety Scheme Website

Apply for Boat Insurance

Find an effective boat insurance provider

Apply for a Environment Agency Licence

Visit the Official Canal and River Trust or the Environment Agency Website
Get Licenced

Find Your Course

What is a Boat Licence?

While a licence for boat sailing is not required in the UK, there are certain circumstances in which permits will need to be authorised for boat owners sailing across inland waterways and moors.


We make having a boat licence a simple, stress-free process


All boat owners will need to register their boat with a BSSC, as well as insuring their boat with boat insurance. Depending on where the boat will be sailed, boat owners will also require a licence from the Canal and River Trust or the Environment Agency.


What is a Boat Safety Certificate?

A BSSC is the boat equivalent of a MOT, with each boat in the UK needing to be inspected for safety and sailworthiness before it can cruise. To register your boat for a BSSC inspection, visit the Official Boat Safety Scheme Website.


An Initial BSSC registration for a full year for a boat starts from £144.00.


Note - All boats requiring a BSSC must be tested every 4 years.


What Boat Insurance do I need?

There are a number of insurance providers based within the UK who specialise in providing insurance for boats and boat owners. Depending on the insurance provider that you choose, boat owners should take into account the size, value and use of the boat, as well as finding an insurance provider that covers boats in the event of accidental damage.

What is an Environment Agency Licence?

In addition to a BSSC and boat insurance, if you use your boat on a canal or river in the UK then you will need a licence from the Canal and River Trust or the Environment Agency.


Boat owners can choose from two licence – Business Licence or Private Licence, and are available for fixed periods of time throughout the year.


The cost of a licence will depend on the size and length of the boat, along with the length of time the licence will be valid from.



No, but you will need certain permits when sailing through certain waterways in the UK.
A Boat Safety Certificate, also known as a BSSC is required by all boat owners in ensuring that their boats have been inspected and are safe to operate in.
Yes. All boat owners will require insurance when operating their boats. Boat insurance providers can be found online, with the provider you select depending upon the size and use of your boat.