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Pleasure boat licence

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Any person who wishes to be in charge of or navigate a pleasure boat/vessel, including Poole Harbour and 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 licence from us.

There are different categories of pleasure boat licence:

  • class B are boats that are crewed by a bosun and take no more than 12 paying passengers, the terms and conditions are on the application form and will be printed on the licence
  • class C are boats that are 'self drive' and hired out, the terms and conditions are on the application form and will be printed on the licence
  • other pleasure boats may need to be licensed depending on the nature of the vessel. If you are running a business and think that your boats may need to be licensed, contact us by email

You will need a qualification in order to operate a pleasure boat licensed by BCP Council.

If you do not already hold a qualification recognised by the MCA as being appropriate for a Category C water such as Poole Harbour, you will need to apply for a waterman's licence.

Further information can be obtained from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

How to apply

Application forms for pleasure boat class B and pleasure boat class C are available together with the current fee information:

  • Class B - £99 per boat
  • Class C - £109 for up to 5 boats and then £40 for every additional 5 boats.
  • Water Boatperson - £104

Payment for the licence should be made by either debit or credit card online.

When paying for your licence, select "Other BCP payments" then "licensing" and select the licence you require.

You will receive an email with a receipt confirming payment, please ensure you send a copy of the receipt with your renewal application

Applications must be accompanied by public liability insurance certificate with cover up to £5 million and sent to:

To operate in Christchurch Harbour applications must be accompanied by a current Certificate/Report of Suitability by a qualified Boat Surveyor

To operate in Poole Harbour application forms must be endorsed by an Authorised Boat Inspector.

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