Annual licence check started

Published: Monday, 09 November 2009

BETWEEN today (9th November) and the 21st, every boat on British Waterways waters will have its licence checked.

Yes, it's the annual check-up once again, when BW personnel will be using feet, bikes and boats to crack down on unlicenced boats as part of its National Boat Check.

A spokesman for BW tells us:

"There are now more boats on the nation's canals and rivers and more people using the towpaths than at any other time in their history. While most boat owners pay their licence fee, there remains a minority who don't, making the annual check necessary.

"In a similar way that cars require road tax, boats require a licence to use the waterways and the revenue from boat licences is an important contributor towards the cost of maintaining the waterways. It helps to ensure vital activities, including dredging the canal, keeping towpaths safe and accessible, and maintaining 200-year-old locks and bridges, can continue."

British Waterways now takes a serious view of unlicenced boats, and this year has already seized 70 unlicenced craft from owners who refuse to pay. Where possible the boats are sold to recover costs and overdue fees while those with little or no value are generally crushed.