Only a week left to oppose CRTs proposed changes to Boat Licence Terms and Conditions! Please respond now!

The CRT consultation on proposed changes to Boat Licence Terms and Conditions ends on Monday 21st December 2020. You can only respond to the consultation online here:

Below we publish a short version of the previously published example response. We believe that CRT’s proposals for changes to the Boat Licence Terms and Conditions are unreasonable and unlawful. Please respond if you can – if implemented, the proposals will drive some of our community off the water and into homelessness. Your response will carry more weight if you can put it in your own words, but the example response is a guide. You can download it here: Short Example response to CRT Licence T&C consultation 2020

The full consultation proposals can be downloaded from CRT’s web site here: or see

According to CRT, consultation responses will be anonymous. CRT say that submitting your response will take around 40 minutes, but you have to complete the questionnaire in one sitting. You can’t save your answers and continue submitting your response later. However, you can write your response to each question beforehand and copy and paste it into the consultation questionnaire. See also our previous article and full example consultation response.

Your Boat Licence Terms & Conditions: Short Plain Text example consultation response


The consultation form is divided into nine sections headed “A” to “I”. We suggest answering “disagree strongly” to all the questions in each section, and then adding the comments below in the boxes provided below Sections A to I.

Complete it online here


Section A. Home Mooring requirement to “cruise”

This condition would be unlawful, contrary to Section 17(3)(c)(i) of the British Waterways Act 1995. A boat with a home mooring is still subject to the restriction that it must not stay in the same place for more than 14 days, but there is nothing to stop it being shuffled between two locations quite close together provided they are far enough apart to constitute different places. Contract terms, even if agreed, can never override statute. The boat licence must be issued if the applicant meets the conditions of the 1995 Act, and can only be revoked if the licence holder breaches the conditions set out in the Act.

Section B. Insurance

CRT already has powers to enforce the requirement for Third Party insurance in Sections 17(4) and 17(5) and Schedule 2 of the British Waterways Act 1995 and this proposed condition would unlawfully exceed these enforcement powers. The proposals regarding sharing information regarding the use, apparent structure and construction of the boat would fall foul of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Section C. Termination period

The proposed changes would be unlawful. The grounds for issue and termination of a boat licence are set out in Section 17 of the British Waterways Act 1995. These grounds apply regardless of whether any breaches are ‘repeated’. If CRT introduced this proposal, it would be acting beyond the powers granted to it under the Transport Acts and the British Waterways Acts.

CRT has powers of arrest under Byelaw 39 (1965) of the General Canal Byelaws 1965-1976 which states that “No person shall commit any nuisance in or on any canal”. This power, together with wider Police powers to deal with anti-social behaviour and criminal activity, is perfectly adequate to deal with situations where a boater is behaving in an anti-social manner.

Section D. Our obligations & refunds

This proposal seeks to remove the statutory duty of CRT to maintain the waterways in accordance with Section 105 of the Transport Act 1968. The proposed limits to refunds are unfair on boaters with three-month licences and in cases where a boater upgrades to a Standard Canal and River licence from a Rivers Only licence but the access to the relevant canal is lost due to CRT negligence.

Section E. Boat Safety Certificate

CRT already has detailed powers to inspect and remove unsafe boats in Section 7 of the British Waterways Act 1983.This proposal would unlawfully extend the law. CRT already has powers to enforce the requirement for a Boat Safety Certificate in Sections 17(4) and 17(6) of the British Waterways Act 1995. This proposal conflicts with Sections 17(6) and 17(11) of the 1995 Act and is therefore unlawful.

Section F. Wider or larger dimensioned boats

The proposals under section F would be unlawful if introduced. CRT has a statutory obligation under Section 105 of the Transport Act 1968 to maintain the relevant waterways to the dimensions set out in this Act. CRT already has powers in Byelaws 3 and 6 (1965) of the General Canal Byelaws 1965-1976 to regulate the use of boats that are not fit for navigation on the canal. The proposals unlawfully exceed CRT’s powers.

Section G. Change of ownership

CRT does not require any additional licence conditions to manage transfers of boat ownership. CRT already has such powers in Section 6 of the 1983 British Waterways Act.

Section H. False declarations

CRT already has powers in Sections 17(4) and 17(5) of the British Waterways Act 1995 to terminate licences in the event of false declarations regarding the conditions for issuing licences. This proposal would exceed CRT’s powers.

Section I. Behaviour towards Trust colleagues

Introducing this power would violate the rights of the boater under the British Waterways Act 1995. CRT must issue a boat licence if the boater complies with the requirements of Section 17 of the 1995 Act. The introduction of this proposal would enable CRT staff to terminate licences on subjective grounds, potentially due to false allegations without any evidence. The idea that the licence holder is responsible for the behaviour of others contradicts an international principle of law.