Pleasure boat licence

If you wish to let for hire or use a boat or vessel for carrying passengers for hire, you will need a pleasure boat licence. If you are a person in charge of or navigating such boat or vessel you will also need a boatman licence.

The requirement to hold a licence does not apply to boats or vessels licensed under Board of Trade Regulations or to those on a canal owned or managed by the British Waterways Board.


To apply for a pleasure boat licence you must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a full knowledge of all statutory rules and licence conditions applicable to navigate on the water or waters for which the licence is required
  • not suffer from any disease or physical disability which could affect your fitness to assist in the charge of pleasure boats, vessels or craft let for hire
  • hold a valid insurance certificate to cover third party liability in respect of the boats/vessels operated


  • The fee for a pleasure boat licence is £256+VAT.

Apply for a licence

To apply for a pleasure boat licence for a premises in Horsham District, please print out and fill in an application form. Choose the correct form from the button links below.

A pleasure boat hire licence allows the holder to let boats out to hire to members of the public and used for carrying passengers.

Apply for a licence to  hire out pleasure boats

A boatman licence allows the holder to be in charge of and navigate pleasure boats, for example taking out tour groups.

Apply for a boatman licence

Sign the form and return it to us along with:

  • the correct fee
  • any relevant qualifications certificate
  • a recent medical form completed by your own doctor
  • a valid insurance certificate
  • such other information we may require to determine if you and the boat/vessel meets the eligibility criteria above.

On receipt of an application we will arrange an inspection of the boat/vessel.

If you have not heard from us within 28 days, tacit consent applies. This means that you will be able to act as though your application is granted.

Where objections have been received to the application, we must determine the application within 56 days.