Do I Need A License To Paddle Board In The UK - Blow Up Paddle Board - Wake2o UKDo I Need A License To Paddle Board In The UK - Blow Up Paddle Board - Wake2o UK

Do I need a License
To Paddle board?

Wondering if you need a paddle board waterways licence in the UK? Or perhaps you're a seasoned paddleboarder but unsure of the regulations surrounding british waterway river licences. Whatever your level of experience, understanding the rules and regulations around waterways licenses is essential for a safe and enjoyable SUP experience.

In this blog, we'll explore the basics of British waterways river licenses, why they're important, where in the UK you can paddleboard and what you need to know before taking to the water on your paddleboard. Whether you're planning a leisurely paddle or a more challenging adventure, this guide will help you navigate the regulations and ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience on the water.

WHAT IS A WATERWAY LICENSE?

A waterway license, or river license, is a license you need to explore some of the UK and Wales' waterways. When you think of a license, you think of a driving license, but no need to worry, there isn't a test you have to take to get a SUP waterways license. Anybody can get one and is something you should buy if you're planning on exploring the inland water.

WHY DO I NEED A WATERWAYS LICENSE?

The fee for a license goes to those who maintain the waters, such as Canal & River Trust, the Environment Agency or another private body. This ensures that the rivers, canals etc that you go on are kept in top-notch condition to make sure the waterways are safe and clean for us and the future. Also, if you have a license you skip the risk of getting a fine if caught without one! 

What do these people do to keep the water safe?

  • Upkeep of the waters banks - Maintaining the entrances and exits of the water.
  • Inspect and repair towpaths to avoid bank erosion.
  • To help manage water quality and levels.
  • Reduce the danger of flooding.
  • Removing invasive non-native species.
Do I Need A Waterways License To Paddle Board UK - Blow Up Paddle Boards - Wake2o

WHERE CAN I PADDLEBOARD NEAR ME WITH A WATERWAYS LICENSE?

To go on the water in England and Wales, you will likely need a British waterways river license. If you are unsure of which inland waterways require a license you can check on British Canoeing.

A couple of popular paddle board places where a waterways license is required are:

• Avon Navigation Trust
• Basingstoke Canal Authority
• New Bedford River
• Old Bedford River
• Grand Union Canal, including; Brentford to Braunston, Napton to Birmingham
• Leeds and Liverpool Canal, although this excludes the Liverpool Link and Docks
• River Lea from Limehouse Basin to Hertford
• Stourport to Gloucester on the River Severn
• Llangollen Canal
• Norfolk and Suffolk Broads
• River Thames – Cricklade Bridge to Teddington. This also includes the Jubilee River and Maidenhead Waterway
• Trent & Mersey Canal
• Regent's Canal
• River Wey
• Sheffield & Yorkshire Canal and including sections of River Don Navigation
• Shropshire Union Canal
• Wey and Godalming Navigation
• Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal
• Worcester and Birmingham Canal

Check out PaddlePoints to see the map of all the paddle board locations near you that you can explore.

WHERE CAN I PADDLE BOARD WHERE I DON'T NEED A LICENCE?

Although quite a lot of British waterways require a licence, there are a couple of places where you don't need one.

• Coastal Areas - Along the UK coastline, you can often paddleboard without a license. Many coastal areas have designated launch points and are suitable for paddleboarding, including beaches, bays, and estuaries.

• River Severn

• Lakes and Reservoirs - Lake Windermere, Ullswater, Coniston Water, and Derwentwater.

• Non-Tidal River Thames - upstream of Teddington Lock in Greater London,

• River Wye

• River Great Ouse

• River Medway

• Kennet and Avon Canal

• Grand Union Canal

• Llangollen Canal

• Leeds and Liverpool Canal

HOW DO I GET A SUP WATERWAYS LICENSE?

If you are living in England then you can get a license from BritishCanoeing or Canoe Wales if you're from Wales. These are the most comprehensive paddle board waterway licenses on the market and allow you to explore a large number of waterways.

If you aren't a daily paddler there is also the option to select day licenses. However, with annual licenses, you get a bunch of benefits such as liability insurance and group discounts.

PRICES*

*prices are accurate to May 2023, prices may have changed.

Do I Need A Waterways License To Paddle Board In The UK - Blow Up Paddle Boards - Wake2o
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T HAVE A BRITISH WATERWAYS RIVER LICENSE?

If you are stand up paddle boarding or kayaking in the sea, estuaries or rivers that don't require a license then you're all good! However, if you're exploring waterways where you are required to have a licence and you don't have one or proof that you have a licence, then you can receive a pretty hefty fine... it is safer to pay for the licence than risk the fine.