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Canal and River Licences

FS120617

(Published January 2022, replacing July 2018)

Access

Most inland waters in England and Wales are privately owned and permission must be gained from the owner before carrying out any activities on these waters. There are some places where permission is not required:- the sea, most stretches of tidal water and some public and common law navigations. There are also waters which require licences in order for them to be used. This page gives details of these waters and the licensing authorities who manage them.

Identification of craft

All boats operated owned or operated by members on behalf of the Scouts must have a unique identifier. This could be in the form of a sticker (boat stickers are available from Scout Store), clearly marked number, or simply be part of a small fleet made up of different coloured boats. Some craft such as dinghies already have unique numbers which could be used for this purpose. The unique identifier will enable groups to monitor the checking, maintenance and use of each boat. This will also assist with the long term planning for renewal and the budget implications associated with such renewals.

 

Licensing Authorities

The Scouts purchase an annual bulk licence to cover all members operating on Canal and River Trust waters in non-motorized craft. This applies to the use of waters which fall within their standard licensing scheme.

For powered craft both long and short term licences are available directly from the Canal and River Trust.

In addition members who also hold membership with the Canoe England can benefit from their member river licensing benefits, this applies to the same Canal and River Trust waters but also to those managed by the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities. To benefit from this check out full details on their website.

All craft using water above Teddington must be registered or exempted by the Environment Agency - Thames Region.

Scout Groups should apply to the Environment Agency for exemption or licence of craft which are owned by the Group and are used solely for training purposes, different rates apply for single use, annual use and motorized boats.

Licences for the Wey and Godalming Navigations are available direct from National Trust Navigation Office.

Licences for both the Medway and the Royal Military Canal are available from the Environment Agency, Scout Groups should apply to the Environment Agency for exemption or licence of craft which are owned by the Group and are used solely for training purposes, different rates apply for single use, annual use and motorised boats.

Find out more information.

Note: The Royal Military Canal permits access to non powered craft only.

There is a public right of passage from Welshpool to Gloucester. Craft owned or operated by The Scout Association (and identified by a member carrying their appointment card) are covered by the BWA Act 1971 concession.

This is a statutory navigation. The exact status of the River above Hey is disputed and local advice should be taken.

Craft in possession of a Canal and River Trust licence are covered under a reciprocal arrangement, therefore scouts operating in non-powered craft are exempt from the requirement for a separate licence, a current appointment card must be carried by the group.

The Great Ouse, Nene, Ancholme, Stour, Welland and Glen require a licence via the Environment Agency. Licences are available from The Environment Agency – Anglia Region.

All craft using the Norfolk boards are subject to licencing, licences are available from the Broads Authority.

It should not be assumed that because a waterway does not come under any of the above authorities then no permission is required. Only local sources and enquiries will enable you to ascertain if permission can be granted, whether a licence is required and if any charge is made.  Enquiries should be made through the County Water Activities Adviser of the area you wish to visit. Water Activities Advisers can normally be contacted through the County Secretary.