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You are here:home > Business > Licensing > Pleasure boats and boatmen > Boatmen


Section 94 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 empowers the City Council to “grant upon such terms and conditions as they may think fit licences for pleasure boats and pleasure vessels to be let for hire or to be used for carrying passengers for hire, and persons in charge of or navigating such boats and vessels”.

What is the effect of this?

Any vessel which is available for hire carrying no more than 12 passengers within category C or D waters must be licensed by the local authority within whose area the vessel is based. Likewise, persons acting a boatmen on such vessels must be licensed as such.

Category C waters are those in Southampton Water north of Calshot and category D waters are those in the Solent within lines between Hurst Point to the Needles in the west and between West Wittering church to Bembridge church in the east.


On first application for a licence you will be required to prove your competence to act as a boatman, in line with the MCA’s “Inland Waters Small Passenger Boat Code”. Details appear in the application form. In all cases, the applicant will be required to visit the VTS Centre at Berth 37, Eastern Docks, Southampton and to prove their competence as a boatman to the satisfaction of the city council through their appointed agent, Associated British Ports' harbour master

Application Forms and Further Information

Application forms, further information and details of the fees appear below.

Data Protection

Please note that the licensing authority may be required by law to disclose to the appropriate authorities, from time to time, further information relating to applications and licences for the purposes of law enforcement and the prevention of fraud.

Contacting the Licensing Team

If you need to contact us by email, 'phone or post, please do so using the details below.

Opening hourslink to interactive parking map

Members of the Licensing Team are normally available on weekdays at the Civic Centre, Southampton SO14 7LY from 09:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:00 to assist personal callers. We may be available at other times by prior appointment.

Downloadable documents

Icon Name of file Size Download time
Word document Boatman application - Word 77 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
PDF document Boatman application - pdf 51 KB 0secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

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