Apply for a boat licence


Boats for hire licensing scheme and conditions

1.0 Introduction

1.1 North Northamptonshire Council licence businesses that hire boats to the public on all waterways in East Northamptonshire, to ensure the safety of public that use the boats and to create a level playing field for business operators.

2.0 Statement of intent

2.1 The Licensing Authority’s key objective is ensuring public safety. This scheme reflects this overriding concern.

2.2 Business will require a licence with North Northamptonshire Council for boats for hire when they meet the following pre requisites:-

  • 2.2.1 They operate in East Northamptonshire (this does not cover boats simply passing through our district)
  • 2.2.2 They hire boats to the public on any waterways in our district
  • 2.2.3 The boat capacities are less than 12. (If they are greater than 12 they are licensed by the Maritime and Coastal Agency)

2.3 Before the Licensing Authority makes any decision to refuse a licence it will allow an opportunity for an applicant to make comment about the application.

3.0 Consideration of Licence Applications

3.1 When submitting an application for the grant or renewal of a Boat Licence the business must:

  • fill in an application form
  • pay for the application process
  • provide evidence of valid insurance
  • detail their boats, capacities and identification mark
  • provide evidence of boat registration
  • provide copies of their terms and conditions
  • provide copies of their hand over procedure
  • detail the safety briefing process to those hiring vessels

3.2 Once an application is received an officer will visit the business and the boats concerned to determine the businesses suitability to hold a licence, safety of the operation and their ability to comply with the licence conditions.

3.3 The officer will then recommend one of the following options:

  • Grant licence
  • Grant licence with additional conditions
  • Refusal of Licence

3.3.1 If the Officer recommends refusal of the licence they will write to the applicant outlining their recommendation, reason for their recommendation and ask for comments.

3.3.2 This matter will then be placed in front of the Head of Environmental Health for a decision.

3.3.3 The applicant will then be formally notified of the decision and will be given the right of appeal to a licensing panel. This appeal must be submitted in writing no more than 21 days of the decision being notified.

3.4 The Licensing Authority has the power to refuse, suspend, revoke, or attach conditions to a licence

4.0 Licence

4.1 A yearly licence will be issued to each business subject to a satisfactory application assessment.

4.2 The licence will be issued with the conditions at appendix one.

4.3The business will be issued with a paper licence at each renewal.

4.4The business may be inspected to confirm compliance during the course of the licence.

4.5A reminder of renewal will be sent to the business two months prior to the licence expiring.

5.0 Policy outcomes

5.1 Outcomes and links to the corporate outcomes. The policy contributes to the following corporate outcomes:

  • Good reputation with customers and regulators
  • Good quality of life in East Northamptonshire: cleaner, safer, prosperous, healthier and sustainable

6.0 Appendix One

Boats for Hire – Conditions

  1. This licence must be displayed on the premises from where the business is operated.
  2. The number of passengers in each boat must not exceed the capacity specified on the licence.
  3. The name or number referred to on this licence must be marked on the boat and easily identifiable.
  4. The boat shall be maintained in a sound and water worthy condition and all equipment shall be kept in good repair and ready for use.
  5. The business must have adequate insurance for letting for hire of boats. This will include third party liabilities of at least two million pounds.
  6. The business must have a documented hand over procedure for the hirer of the boat
  7. Appropriate buoyancy aids or life jackets must be provided with the boat.
  8. The number of buoyancy aids or life jackets must be equal to the number of people on the boat.
  9. The Buoyancy aids provided must fit the hirers of the boat.
  10. There must be an assessment of the hirers competency to navigate the boat.
  11. There must be a risk assessment conducted to determine the appropriate number of responsible adults required in each boat when children under 14 are part of the hiring group.
  12. There must be a fire risk assessment undertaken for each boat and any controls must be implemented.
  13. A first aid kit must be accessible on each boat.
  14. A weather assessment must be undertaken each day hiring will take place to determine if it is safe to hire out the boat.
  15. The hirer must understand and sign the hire agreement terms and conditions.
  16. Prior to the booking the business must give the hirer key information on safety matters, routes and any equipment requirements.
  17. There must be a safety briefing prior to the boats being used by the hirer.
  18. The safety briefing must include a section on lock safety.
  19. The details of all passengers on the boat and contact details must be readily available at all time.

Last updated 29 November 2023