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Licensing arrangements

If you want to canoe on many of our rivers and canals you will need a licence to do so. British Canoeing has teamed up with navigation authorities who manage the waterways to offer British Canoeing members a great rate for a waterway licence in England. Included with your British Canoeing membership is a licence to paddle over 4,500km of rivers and canals.


British Canoeing members

As a British Canoeing member, you are given a membership card which also serves as your waterways licence. A lanyard is also provided for ease of display. Carry your British Canoeing membership card with you at all times, as you may be asked to show this to authorised navigation officials. You can see the list of included waterways in the list below.


Affiliated clubs

Clubs using the waterways listed below require a licence for each club boat. British Canoeing affiliated clubs can be provided with additional licences by British Canoeing at a considerable cost saving to buying licences direct from the navigation authorities Current details are included on the Club Affiliation form.


Waterways Licences included for Members

The following waterways in the following list are included under British Canoeing’s licencing arrangements with navigation authorities. You can click on each to be taken to the navigation authority’s website for more information, along with details of rules and regulations for navigating their waterways.

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  • All Canal & River Trust Waterways
  • All Environment Agency managed waterways
    • Black Sluice Navigation;
    • River Ancholme;
    • River Cam (below Bottisham Lock);
    • River Glen;
    • River Great Ouse (below Kempston and the flood relief channel between the head sluice lock at Denver and the Tail sluice at Saddlebrow);
    • River Lark;
    • River Little Ouse (below Brandon Staunch);
    • River Medway – below Tonbridge;
    • River Nene – below Northampton;
    • River Stour (Suffolk) – below Brundon Mill, Sudbury;
    • River Thames – Cricklade Bridge to Teddington (including the Jubilee River and Maidenhead Waterway);
    • River Welland; and
    • River Wissey
  • Broads Authority waterways*
    • Norfolk & Suffolk Broads;
    • River Ant;
    • River Bure;
    • River Chet;
    • River Thurne;
    • River Waveney;
    • River Wensum;
    • River Yare; and
    • associated Broads and Dykes
  • Basingstoke Canal (Basingstoke Canal Authority)
  • Bridgewater Canal (Manchester Ship Canal Company)
  • River Cam – Cambridge to Bottisham Lock (Cam Conservators)*
  • River Avon (Warwickshire) – Alveston to Tewkesbury (Avon Navigation Trust)*
  • Stroudwater Navigation*
  • Wey & Arun Canal (Wey & Arun Canal Trust)*
  • Wey & Godalming Navigations (National Trust)*
  • Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal

*All the waterways marked with an asterisk above include Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs) in the British Canoeing licence arrangement. We are working to include SUPs in more of our agreements in the future.


Waterways outside the British Canoeing Licensing Agreement

The following waterways do require a licence/registration, but are not currently included in the British Canoeing Licencing Agreement. You will need to buy a licence direct from the relevant Navigation Authority.

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Rivers and Canal navigations where a licence is not required

There are a number of non-tidal rivers where navigation rights are recognised and where boats are not a required to be licensed. Known examples are the River Wye below Hay-on-Wye, River Lugg from Leominster, River Severn between Pool Quay near Welshpool and Stourport, and River Rother (East Sussex) downstream from Bodiam.

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Those rivers and canals that do not require a licence are:

  • Exeter Ship Canal
  • River Severn – upstream of Stourport, a CRT licence (or British Canoeing membership) is required below Stourport to the tidal reaches
  • River Wye (Wales/South West England) – downstream of Hay on Wye
  • River Little Ouse – Thetford to Brandon
  • River Cam Grantchester to Bishops Mill Sluice, Cambridge
  • River Rother (East Sussex) downstream from Robertsbridge
  • Royal Military Canal – sections from West Hythe to Iden Lock at the confluence with the River Rother, and from Rye to Cliff End incorporating the River Brede from Rye to Winchelsea
  • River Severn – upstream of Stourport, a CRT licence (or British Canoeing membership) is required below Stourport to the tidal reaches
  • River Wye (Wales/South West England) – downstream of Hay on Wye
  • River Little Ouse – Thetford to Brandon
  • River Cam Grantchester to Bishops Mill Sluice, Cambridge
  • River Rother (East Sussex) downstream from Robertsbridge
  • Royal Military Canal – sections from West Hythe to Iden Lock at the confluence with the River Rother, and from Rye to Cliff End incorporating the River Brede from Rye to Winchelsea

For further information, you can contact:

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