The licensing authorities actively promote the canals for business use. However, regulation is necessary and therefore it is necessary to display a licence for any trading activities that take place from your narrowboat, including renting out your narrow boat.

Traders are actively encouraged on the waterways, but a business licence is required for all trading narrowboats
A trader licence is required for anyone operating a business on the waterway
All businesses on the waterway require a specific licence from Canal & River Trust

Business Licence… An Overview

The Canal & River Trust actively encourage water based businesses. In the interests of promoting the narrow boating leisure lifestyle to a wider audience they see the diverse nature of waterborne business adding to the attraction. They do however require that any traders are licensed and in support of this requirement have a dedicated Boating Trade Team.

The definition of trading covers all activities from selling tiller pins from the bank side to running a fleet of holiday hire boats to opening a new marina facility, so the regulations can be overwhelming.

If you want to set up a boating based business, you are advised in the first instance to contact your local Boating Trade Manager. The CRT website has an enormous collection of information relating to boating businesses and the Trade Team contacts can be found in their Boating Businesses section.

Business Licence… Renting Out Your Boat

From the 12th June 2017, Canal & River Trust are introducing a new licence for those wishing to rent out their narrowboats.  The number of boaters now renting out their narrow boats either short term, like AirBnB or longer terms has increased significantly over the past few years, particularly in London.

As renting is officially a business venture, the appropriate licence should be held. From 12th June 2017 a Static Letting Licence must be obtained by anyone wishing to rent out their narrowboat.  The boat owner must have a permanent mooring and any planning permission must be sought from the Local Authority.

The Static Letting Licence has more rigorous requirements to ensure the boat is safe and it requires the owners to fully brief the occupants before renting. Importantly the boat must remain static during the rental. In addition, appropriate insurance, emergency procedures & contact numbers, Landlords Gas Safety  Certificate and written permission from their mooring provider is also required.

More information can be found on the Canal & River Trust website

Business Licences

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