Boats licence

Pleasure boat licence

To hire out water-bound pleasure crafts (including sailboards, rowing boats, canoes, motor boats, pedallos and larger boats) that are for personal use or carrying passengers, you need a licence. You must not carry more passengers than you are licensed to carry.
Licences may be subject to a fee. Conditions may be attached to a licence.

Eligibility criteria
No provision in legislation

Regulation summary 
View a summary of the regulation relating to this licence on

Application evaluation process

  • Applications will not be granted if the council believe the vessel is not safe or suitable for the proposed purpose of use.
  • You must have an insurance policy approved by the council.
  • Public notice of the application may be given in a local newspaper and objections may be considered.
  • The council may make such reasonable inquiries as they think fit and include the results of these inquiries in matters they take into account, but where they intend to include any of these results they must notify you.
  • You may be given the opportunity to make representations.

What happens if your application is not processed by the council within the timescales stated?
Tacit consent applies, which means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted if you have not heard from the council by the end of the target completion period. 

Apply online at Business Link
Apply to offer boats for hire
Tell us about a change to your boat hire business
Renew a boat hire licence

Apply by post
To make an application contact the licensing team .

Failed application redress 
Please contact the council in the first instance.
If you wish to appeal against a decision you may do so two days after the decision to your local Magistrates' Court.

Licence holder redress 
Please contact the council in the first instance.

If you wish to appeal against a decision you may do so from two days after the decision to your Local Magistrates' Court. You must give 24 hours notice of your intention to appeal.

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, if you are located in the UK, consumer direct will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Other redress
E.g. about noise, pollution etc. Also should one licence holder complain about another.

Trade associations 
Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA)

For more advice and information please contact us.