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Your Borough Of Poole

Waterman Licence

Who needs a Waterman's Licence

Any person who wishes to be in charge of or navigate a pleasure boat/vessel within Poole Harbour for the purpose of letting it out for hire to members of the public, or to be used for carrying passengers for hire, must obtain a Waterman’s licence from us.

In order to qualify for a Waterman’s Licence an applicant must:

  • be over 18 years of age
  • have a full knowledge of all statutory rules, regulations and byelaws applicable to navigation on the water or waters for which the licence is required. New applications must be therefore be endorsed by the Harbour Master to confirm that the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of the Harbour Commissioners to operate safely within Poole Harbour.
  • not suffer from any disease or physical disability which could affect their fitness to assist in the charge of pleasure boats, vessels or craft let for hire.
  • be  able  to complete a declaration as to their fitness. Matters to be considered are any limb defect which restricts mobility or movement, epilepsy, fainting, or cardiovascular problems or mental illness.

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Who is exempt?

Exemptions apply to those who hold a qualification approved by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the manning of small vessels in commercial use for sport or pleasure.  The RYA website lists MCA approved qualifications. Qualifications must be appropriate to cover whether carrying out daytime, or nighttime, operations.

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How to obtain a licence

You can obtain a licence by downloading an application form. Licences are issued every three years. They are not transferrable and cannot be backdated.

The council may suspend, or revoke a licence at any time whenever they deem such suspension or revocation to be necessary in the interests of the public.

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Contact us

Email customer services

01202 261700

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