Travel Talk

Do You Need A Boating Licence To Canoe Or Kayak In The UK?

Starting your paddling career, whether you’re kayaking or canoeing can be challenging. It can be difficult to locate information regarding where you are allowed to paddle or to uncover information that contradicts what you already have been informed. However, before you go out on the water, you must make sure if you need to obtain a waterway licence for that stretch of water, whether it’s a lake, river, or canal. It is a legal necessity for a couple of waterways.

Who Needs A Waterway Licence?

Although not all waterways require a licence, if you’re paddling on a variety of inland waterways, you’ll certainly need one. A waterway permit is necessary to paddle on almost 5000km of waterways maintained by the Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency, the Broads Authority, and a number of other waterway authorities in England and Wales if you are kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding.

Why Do You Need A Licence?

A waterway licence ensures that you are paddling responsibly, complying with the laws of the waterway authority and contributing to the long-term viability of waterways. The money raised from licences is used to help the authorities maintain the waterways. They perform a variety of tasks that many people are unaware of, including bank preservation, maintaining entrance and exit points,  inspecting and repairing towpaths for access, and preventing bank erosion.

These waterways organisations perform important ecological work, such as eliminating invasive non-native species that can clog entire waterways in a couple of days, costing the UK economy billions of pounds each year. They also install, check, clean, and drypoints to keep unwanted non-native species at bay. They also aid in the management of water quality and levels, decreasing the risk to human health and the risk of flooding.

How Do I Get A Waterway Licence?

British Canoeing membership, or Canoe Wales membership if you live in Wales, is the most comprehensive waterways licence available, allowing paddlers to paddle on a wide variety of regulated waterways. Paddlers receive civil liability insurance as well as a variety of other exclusive benefits as part of their membership. It will be the most cost-effective option for paddlers.

In fact, you can get a single licence straight from the authorities if you’re only going to paddle on one waterway and don’t want to venture farther away, but most paddlers love a good adventure.

Different bodies efficiently control different waterways, especially when all you want to do is put your boat on the river and go for a leisurely paddle. Once you go through the process of getting yourself a licence to canoe, kayak or paddleboard, you are ready to get on the waters.

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