Insurance and License to Canoe

Insurance and License to Canoe

Whilst there are some places in the UK that are free to paddle, for much of the inland waters you need a license from British Waterways on the navigable waters (larger rivers and of course the miles of canals).

“Fine” you may say, “We’ll leave those (which may be some of the best paddling spots) and just stick to lakes”.  Unfortunately, access to many of the lakes and reservoirs are controlled by the owner or license holder.  These will typically require 3rd party insurance to make sure that any damage you cause (or the raising of your vessel) can be covered.

Is this sounding like too much red tape?

Fear not, there is one simple solution: Join British Canoeing.

British Canoeing

Membership of the British Canoeing provides you with a license to paddle on British Waterways, including the canal network, and provides you with a generous 3rd party insurance.  It is by far the easiest way to get on the water.

Membership also gets you discounts (you have an online and in-store discount at Cotswold Outdoor for example), and regular canoe magazines.

Family Membership

You can also take out family membership, where you can add children to the membership at a reduced rate.

This is what we have.  A Family British Canoeing Membership, so we’re insured for mishaps, and everyone has a license to paddle on British Waterways.  We can go down the canal in a long line, like a family of ducks 😉

You can also take out insurance cover for your boats.  We also took this out as the price was very attractive – especially compared to the cost of replacing our canoes.

Joining British Canoeing

Click here to join British Canoeing.

There are also some regional canoeing associations:

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  1. Hi I would like to kayak on the river seven in Shrewsbury only now and again do I need a license if so can u tell me how much and where to get one from please mr George hicks

    1:33 pm on September 18, 2018
    • Actually, Shrewsbury has a local bylaw that means you don’t need a license on the Severn while in the town. We find Frankwell a god place to get in and out. There’s a ramp with river access by the entrance to the cricket ground.

      7:19 pm on September 18, 2018
  2. does membership cover licence for the river thames (Oxfordshire) or would I need to get that separately?

    11:48 pm on September 18, 2016
  3. if we join does everyone in the boat need membership to go on the water or just the paddler eg if Grandad takes me and the two grandkids do we need to have membership too?

    8:29 am on July 1, 2016
  4. Thank you so much for this! I have been struggling to understand the correct licencing and information I need. This has been the clearest information I’ve found on the subject.

    11:04 pm on August 2, 2015

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