Boat licences

I need some info on what licences, insurance, decent insurance brokers that aren't going to rip my arms off, inspectors for the BSS etc I need to use a speed boat on inland and coastal waters in England and any suggestions on some decent places to take it.

Just to pre empt the p1ss taking from MDN, fcuk off fatty, if you climbed in I would end up with the first 150 Hp underwater speed sub.

Any help much appreciated.

Just a starter for 10 but probably the most useful place to go would be the Royal Yachting Assoc, they are the nearest thing to a regulating authority in the UK.
You don;t officially need a licence or qualification for owning and running a boat unless taking paying passengers.

However, might i suggest taking either the inland waterways helmsman course or alternatively (and probably more suitable in many ways) the power boat level 2 course.

As for insurance, the easiest thing is to join the RYA and get theres, then take a subsidiary package with one of their advertisers - there are usually some deals for RYA members.


RYA Asst Instr (Keelboats)
Thanks for the tips boys.

Insurance is now sorted through Noble Marine but a mate of mine swears that you need a licence to use the boat on rivers, canals and coastal waters from British Waterways. Their website sort of seems to confirm this (none powered boats are exempt) but others that I know do not have them and swear blind they are not needed.

If they are not needed, where do the registration numbers on the sides of cruisers, speedboats, sailboats that I have seen come from and what are they for? Excuse my ignorance but the closest I have come to a boat prior to this is the ferry to Dover :D


I do know that it is illegal to operate a boat on an inland waterway without GPS. There's a good Magellan hand-held for sale in classifieds...... :D
I haven't got a license and it didn't seem to be a problem when I went canal-boating last year. All you need is some friends and LOTS of beer (for the bits of canal inbetween the pubs!!) :p
bernoulli said:
I do know that it is illegal to operate a boat on an inland waterway without GPS. There's a good Magellan hand-held for sale in classifieds...... :D
where the hell did you hear that? :lol:
Certain rivers & canals do require a licence from the British Waterways authority (see website for details).

The RYA Day Skipper (Non-Tidal) qualification is worth getting and will certainly make it easier to hire boats and should reduce your insurance premium as well.
Aunty Stella said:
the closest I have come to a boat prior to this is the ferry to Dover :D
Sadly, I fear the tranquil waters of the Norfolk Broads and the Birmingham Main Line will never be the same again...... :wink:
Basically it’s the boat that needs the licence rather than the operator, details can be found at :-

Unfortunately, in this country unless carrying fare paying passengers any one with enough beer tokens can get a small? Hey even a large boat and put themselves and others at risk, no 'driving licence' required. However go abroad and in most cases you need the quals...

Although a lot of hire companies are now requiring some form of recognised formal training before letting you loose, it is not compulsory to do any of the very good RYA courses, although it should be.

Put it this way... Would you let a first time learner driver loose on the roads in anything larger than a Sinclair C5 with no training? Err no! So why let the equivalent 'weekend boater' loose in say a 30' Yacht, getting on for 2 Tonne plus in weight and no brakes!... A Ski Boat complete with skier hanging on for dear life, or come to that even a small sailing dinghy with no training on how to get it upright again after the inevitable capsize?

I'm not suggesting all users are irresponsible, in the majority of case's they’re not, but I do firmly believe that decent training is a must.

Ok that’s my pennyworth to this thread. AS if you check out the link above, it should answer all, key links on the site are on the left. Ohh and do have fun on the water.


Book Reviewer

not sure if you're still serving or not ?

The Army Sailing Association run PowerBoat Level 2 courses from their club at Netley on Southampton Water.

You can also enquire with the Joint Services Sailing Centre at JSSC Hornet in Gosport. PM me if you need a contact there.

A lot of Corps own their own yachts and the Sailing Association Sec can also probably help you out.

Most civvy sailing clubs have a Powerboat training scheme because they all need Safety boat operators.

I hold RYA powerboat Level 2 . It's mostly about manouvering eg a RIB safely, little bit of theory on tides, anchoring etc. Worth doing if you own your own boat. Nowhere near the RYA Day Skipper level though.

Le Chevre

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