Do you need a licence for a narrowboat?

Yes, you need a licence to live on a narrowboat in the UK. The Canal & River Trust (CRT) is the body responsible for licensing boats on the UK’s inland waterways. The type of licence you need will depend on how you use your boat. If you use your boat for your own private use, you will need a private boat licence. If you use your boat for business, such as renting it out or running a floating café, you will need a business boat licence.

The cost of a private boat licence varies depending on the length of your boat and the length of time you want to licence it for. For example, a licence for a boat up to 18 feet long costs £609.61 for a year. A business boat licence costs more, and the exact cost will depend on the type of business you operate.

To apply for a boat licence, you will need to provide the CRT with some information about your boat, such as its length, width, and registration number. You will also need to provide proof of insurance and a recent photograph of your boat.

You can apply for a boat licence online or by post. The CRT website has more information about boat licences and how to apply.

Here are some additional things to keep in mind about boat licences:

  • You must have a valid boat licence to moor your boat on the canals and rivers.
  • You must renew your boat licence every year.
  • You must display your boat licence number on your boat.
  • If you sell your boat, you must transfer the boat licence to the new owner.

If you are considering living on a narrowboat, it is important to factor in the cost of a boat licence. The cost of a licence can be a significant expense, but it is a necessary requirement for living on the canals and rivers.


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