Do I need a licence to paddle board?

Lots of people are discovering the joys of Stand Up Paddle boarding however many people don’t know the answer to the question: Do I need a licence to paddle board?

Our handy guide explains everything you need to know about water licence rules and paddle boarding. Including information on where you need one, how to purchase it and the cheapest licence available.

Where do I need a licence to paddle board?

You need a waterway licence to paddle board on the majority of managed rivers and canals in England and Wales. Because 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.

You can purchase a waterway licence instantly by joining British Canoeing (if you live in England) or Canoe Wales (if you live in Wales). It’s the most comprehensive water licence available because British Canoeing works in partnership with all the waterway authorities, giving paddlers a licence for 4,500km. This allows you to have just one licence for all the waterways managed by the Canal and Rivers Trust, the Environmental Agency, the Broads Authority and many more. Making British Canoeing membership a very cost effective option for paddle boarders, kayakers and canoeists.

Not all waterways require you to have a licence. For example, you don’t need a licence for paddle boarding on the sea or on some lakes and rivers. However, if like us you enjoy exploring new places then we’d always recommend checking the rules before you go. To help you check use our handy ‘waterways lookup’ tool below. This will also show you all the waterways that are included within British Canoeing membership.

Waterway Licence Checker

How much does a water licence cost?

A waterway licence is available as part of the British Canoeing membership package for just £45, with discounts available for children, families and couples.

This is great value, as you’ll save yourself £85, compared to purchasing a licence through each individual waterway authority.

Plus money generated from waterway licences contributes towards vital maintenance and conservation work that waterway authorities complete. This helps to keep our waterways clean and safe for us and future generations to enjoy!

Are there any additional benefits to having a British Canoeing ‘On the Water’ membership?

Absolutely! By becoming a member of British Canoeing you’ll get a great range of benefits alongside your waterways licence. Your additional benefits will include combined liability insurance, discounted craft insurance, regular top tips, advice and discounts. Plus you’ll become part of the biggest paddling community in the UK. To view the full list of membership benefits click here.

Also the final added bonus, membership income is reinvested back into the sport. So as a result of joining you’ll be helping to improve opportunities and resources for the whole paddling community.

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