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Pleasure boats

If you wish to be in charge of or navigate a pleasure boat or vessel for the purpose of carrying passengers for hire, you must obtain the appropriate licences from either the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) or in some cases the Council.

The Council’s Licensing Team issues pleasure boat licences for vessels carrying no more than 12 passengers on voyages that are at no time outside categorised waters (i.e. waters not regarded as 'sea'). In the Waveney district any vessels wishing to operate inland of Mutford Lock must apply to the Broads Authority.

The two relevant categories of waters are as follows:

  • Category A: Narrow rivers and canals where the depth of water is generally less than 1.5 metres.
  • Category B: Wider rivers and canals where the depth of water is generally 1.5 metres or more and where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 0.6 metres at any time.

Applications for a licence to operate in Category C waters (tidal rivers and estuaries and large, deep lakes and lochs where the significant wave height could not be expected to exceed 1.2 metres at any time), will be assessed on an individual basis, in consultation MCA Officers.

Please note: pleasure boat operators who wish to go outside categorised waters or carry more than 12 passengers should contact the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for advice.

Licences will not be issued to persons under 18 years of age.

How do I apply for a licence?

You will need to submit a completed application form to the Licensing Team.