If I want to commute to work on my own boat, do I have to carry documents, special permits or whatever to sail down the River Thames?

  • 2
    Do you carry a driver's licence when you drive a car? Commented Sep 15, 2019 at 10:52
  • 3
    Where are you planning on docking your boat when you get to work?
    – nick012000
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


If you want to boat on any inland waterways in the UK you are required to have a boat registration (aka licence).

Unlike a driving licence there is no need to pass a competency-based assessment.

However, you must have a boat safety scheme certificate (BSSC) and boat insurance (at least third party).

The Thames is overseen by the Environment Agency. This page on the Environment Agency website has a contact phone number for the registration team and links to the forms you may need.

  • You woulda passed a competency-based assessment if got the licence in some other country.
    – 27096
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 7:22
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    Note that this only applies to the non-tidal part of the Thames, i.e. upstream of Teddington Lock (roughly). See gov.uk/government/publications/…, third paragraph. For the tidal portion (e.g. through central London), it appears the Port of London Authority is in charge. Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 13:10

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