The Canal & River Trust is making changes to the licence communications sent to boaters, to provide them with more clarity and advice around cruising expectations and to highlight the help available to boaters who are struggling.

From June 2024 an advisory letter will be sent with every renewed licence instead of just being sent with new licence applications. The communication, sent by email where possible, will include important information about the licence requirements, the Trust’s Guidance for Boaters Without a Home Mooring, the welfare support available to boaters, answers to the most-asked questions, and guidance on maintaining a cruising log.

From the same date, the Trust will stop sending a midpoint reminder about cruising patterns. These reminders often have limited impact, can cause confusion, and are costly to administer.

There are no changes to what boaters are required to do to meet the terms of their boat licence.

Matthew Aymes, national customer support manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “It is important for boaters to have the information they need to help them understand the requirements of the boat licence, including how the Trust interprets the legal requirement to ‘bona fide’ navigate.

“The information pack we’ll be sending out with every boat licence will provide a comprehensive overview of the requirements, as well as useful advice for boaters on how to access support and ways they can easily keep a cruising record of their travels.

“We are committed to helping boats stay on the water and hope this additional information leads to increased clarity around cruising requirements. In addition, our boat licence customer support team will be on hand to answer any questions, and we ask anyone struggling or unsure of their cruising obligations to get in touch as soon as possible.”

From June 2024, for those boaters whose cruising patterns do not meet the licence requirements, the Trust will offer a single six-month restricted licence to give them the time to meet the terms of their licence. A second restricted period will be offered in only the most exceptional of cases.

The Trust will also be reducing the number of letters sent to boats on restricted licences, incorporating the information into its existing processes. The changes will take effect from January 2024.

For more information on boat licensing, visit: Licence your boat | Canal & River Trust (