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Pleasure boat licence

You must have a boat licence for the operation of pleasure boats for hire to members of the public, or to be used for carrying passengers for hire.

This type of licence is required for sailboards, rowing boats, canoes, motor boats, pedalos and larger boats or ferries carrying less than 12 passengers.

Licences may be subject to a fee and conditions may be attached to a licence.

View a summary of the regulations relating to this licence.

Christchurch and East Dorset

Download the application form and return it to us along with:

  • the licence fee
  • a certificate of suitability and a public liability insurance certificate

For applicants in East Dorset, please read the East Dorset Pleasure Boat Conditions.

Christchurch licence fees

Christchurch licence fees
Type of licenceLicence fee (per boat)
Grant of rowing/sailing boat licence £27.50
Renewal of rowing/sailing boat licence £27.50
Grant of self-drive motor boat licence £33
Renewal of self-drive motor boat licence £33

East Dorset licence fees

East Dorset licence fees
Type of licenceLicence fee (per boat)
Application for licence £50*
Renewal of Licence £50*
Change to existing licence Discretionary (£50 per boat)*

*unless exempt from paying fee


Each licence is valid from 1 April to 31 March each year.

Before you apply you should:

All boats are inspected annually.

You can apply for a pleasure boat licence, or change or renew an existing one on

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Lyme Regis and West Bay harbours

Lyme Regis and West Bay harbours have a maximum number of 14 Ply for Hire licences each.  These are issued to certificated boats, taken by a mixture of tripping boats, dive charter boats and a self drive boat business. They operate from Easter to the end of September. Please contact us for more information.

Weymouth Harbour

For Weymouth Harbour, pleasure boats carrying passengers must either be Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) coded and approved or licenced by the Harbour Master. Contact the Weymouth Harbour office for further details.

Tacit consent

Tacit consent doesn't apply to this licence. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from your local authority within 28 days, please contact them. 

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