Waterman licence

Any person who wishes to be in charge of or navigate a pleasure boat/vessel within Poole or Christchurch Harbour for the purpose of letting it out for hire to members of the public, or to be used for carrying passengers for hire, must obtain a waterman’s licence from us.

In order to qualify for a waterman’s licence, an applicant must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a full knowledge of all statutory rules, regulations and byelaws applicable to navigation on the water or waters for which the licence is required. New applications must be therefore be endorsed by the Harbour Master to confirm that the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of the Harbour Commissioners to operate safely within Poole or Christchurch Harbour
  • not suffer from any disease or physical disability which could affect their fitness to assist in the charge of pleasure boats, vessels or craft let for hire
  • be able to complete a declaration as to their fitness, matters to be considered are any limb defect which restricts mobility or movement, epilepsy, fainting, or cardiovascular problems or mental illness.

Who is exempt

Exemptions apply to those who hold a qualification approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the manning of small vessels in commercial use for sport or pleasure. Qualifications must be appropriate to cover whether carrying out day time, or night time, operations.

How to apply

Licences are issued every 3 years. They are not transferable and cannot be backdated.

The fee involved with this application is £79 for a licence valid for up to a 3 year period between 1 April 2019 and expiring on 31 March 2022. This fee is for a licence issued during the financial year from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

Please read the notes for applicants before completing the application.

To apply for this licence download the form and submit to: