Anyone who wishes to be in charge of or navigate a pleasure boat or vessel for the purpose of letting it out for hire to members of the public or to carry passengers for hire must obtain the appropriate licences from either the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) or in some cases the council.

Medway Council issues pleasure boat licences under the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 section 94.

This covers vessels carrying no more than 12 passengers on voyages that are at no time outside categorised waters, as defined in the relevant Merchant Shipping Notice (MSN 1776 (M)).

It also covers the hiring out of water-bound pleasure craft, including sailboards, rowing boats, canoes, motor boats, pedalos and larger boats.

Please note that:

  • the boat must be in the charge of a duly licensed boatman
  • licences will not be issued to people under 18 years of age
  • all licences expire on 31 March each year.

Pleasure boat operators who wish to go outside categorised waters or carry more than 12 passengers should contact the MCA for advice.