British canoeing
waterway licence

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How it works

Most of the waterways which require a licence to paddle on are covered in British Canoeing (or Canoe Wales) membership. If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you will need to login and join through the relevantHome Nation membership portal

Why you need a waterway licence

You need a waterway licence to paddle board on the majority of managed rivers and canals in England and Wales. If you don’t have proof of a waterway licence you could end up with a hefty fine from the waterway authority that manages that stretch of water.

The good news, a waterway licence is really easy and affordable to purchase. Also you get peace of mind knowing that the fee’s from licences help with the long-term protection of the waterways you’ll be paddling on.

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Benefits of having a british canoe licence

Whether SUP, canoe, or kayak, British Canoeing On The Water membership gives you a licence that opens up 4,500km of water for you enjoy.

  • Voting rights
  • Offers & rewards
  • Help the environment
  • Access to 4,500km water
  • Qualifications & events
  • Access campaigning
  • Paddler community
  • Communications
  • Public liability insurance
  • Craft insurance discount
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Paddle responsibly and ensure you purchase your waterway licence

Buy 1 year membership - £47

How licences help waterways

The money generated from licences enables the waterway authorities to carry out a wide range of work that often goes unseen. This includes:

  • Removal of debris from the river
  • Flood damage repairs
  • Removal of invasive non-native species
  • Installing 'check, dry, clean' stations
  • Maintaining put ins, take outs and towpaths
  • Managing water quality and levels
  • Stocking rivers with fish & aquatic species
  • Protecting against & repairing bank erosion
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Check which waterways are covered here

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