Residential Boat Licences

Your boat needs to have a cruising licence to use the canals and rivers. Tariffs can be obtained from the navigation authority concerned.

You can find contact details for the appropriate navigation authority for the waterways you wish to cruise via our waterway pages.

Canal & River Trust Waterways

On waterways managed by Canal & River Trust there two forms of residential boating for licencing purposes.

Continuous cruising - which means "without remaining in one place for more than fourteen days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances". This method of cruising will require a standard Pleasure Boat Licence.

Permanent Residence means permanently moored on a site with planning permission for residential use, and not used for cruising. This requires a Houseboat Certificate. Details of fees are available from the relevant navigation authority. The best moorings are often difficult to find or have long waiting lists. One option would be to buy a boat already with a residential mooring. See more about finding a mooring.

Other Authority Navigations

On most other navigations, if you live on your boat as your only place of residence, you need to have an approved residential mooring.

Council tax and the cost of local and domestic services are usually the individual's responsibility.

More Info

You can find out the relevant navigation authority on our waterway pages.

IWA Policy & Campaigns

Take a look at IWA's policy on residential boating as well as our campaign on mooring issues.

See also:

Buying a Boat
Hiring a Boat
Living Afloat

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