The Canal and River Trust is today announcing that private and business boat licence fees will rise by 3% from 1 April 2018, roughly in line with inflation forecasts for next year.
Income from boat licence fees helps to ensure that the Trust can continue to sustain charitable expenditure of over £150m per year. 
Ian Rogers, Customer Services and Operations Director at The Canal and River Trust, said: “We are committed to keeping boat licences at a fair price and investing the income back into caring for our canals and rivers for the benefit of all our boating customers.  Looking after the waterways is a huge task, from big jobs like repairing flood-damaged bridges to the everyday work of dredging and replacing lock gates. 
“The money we get from boat licences, which currently accounts for around 10-15% of our total income, is massively important in keeping the canals and rivers open so boaters can continue to use them, now and in the future.”

Future generations  

Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager, added: “Our inland waterways are an important asset for future generations to enjoy.  Across the country our waterways are well used for recreational boating and there is a growing demand for short break boating holidays with the emphasis on comfort and convenience, so it is vital that they are maintained and developed in a sustainable way.
“We consider a licence fee increase in line with inflation in private and business boat licence fees to be fair and proportionate, as part of the long-term plan to secure the future of our inland navigations.”

Have your say on the future of boat licensing
In addition to today’s announcement, The Canal and River Trust is asking all boaters and boating groups to take part in the final stage of its consultation on the future of boat licensing.
This ongoing consultation sets out to get boaters’ views on the future of boat licensing, including how to make sure that the important financial contribution made by boaters is spread fairly across the boating community.
The Trust has published a series of licensing options based on the feedback given by boaters in the first stages of consultation held during the spring and summer. It is now emailing or writing to all licence holders and other boating groups and organisations to invite them to take part. It will then put forward a final proposal, including details of when any changes will come into effect.
No changes resulting from the consultation will be implemented before April 2019.
Stuart Carruthers added: “The RYA is encouraging members to have their say on how boats are licensed on our waterways.  We would urge boaters to read through the proposals and respond before the consultation deadline in order to help shape a licensing system that it simple and fair.”

Considerations for consultation

The options being consulted on include: 

  • Licence considerations for wider beam vessels on the waterways
  • Consideration of the range of licence discounts offered to different customers
  • Considerations in respect of the Prompt Payment discount
  • Considerations for short term licences
  • Licence considerations in respect of mooring status
  • Impact of any changes following the consultation

Boaters have until 18 December 2018 to respond to the consultation.  After the closing date the Trust will draw up a final set of proposals to be approved by the charity’s Trustees.

More information about the boat licensing consultation, including reports from stage one and stage two, and the stage three proposals, can be found here: