If you want to take an unpowered boat on the River Thames, it must be registered with the Environment Agency. An unpowered boat is one without an engine.
Register by phone, post, or at any River Thames Lock
- To register over the phone please call us on 03708 506 506
- To register by post please download the application form:
Post the application form to us at:
PO Box 544
We process applications as quickly as possible but please be aware it can take up to 10 working days.
You can buy an instant unpowered boat registration from any River Thames lock. Many of our locks also sell short period registrations for powered boats.
Please note: we cannot deal with boat registration enquiries or accept payments or application forms in person at any of our offices.
- The annual registration for unpowered boats (excluding houseboats) is £35.00. This covers you for all of our waterways (not just the River Thames). Short period registrations are also available.
- A one- to six-day registration costs £8.50.
- A 31-day registration costs £16.00.
- Tenders are eligible for a 50 per cent discount when registered at the same time as your main boat. We define a tender as a small boat or dinghy, towed or carried by your main boat.
By cheque/postal order
Cheques and postal orders should be made out to the Environment Agency, for the full registration amount.
By debit or credit card
To pay by debit or credit card over the phone, call us on 03708 506 506 (8am - 6pm, Monday - Friday). Please note we do not accept payment by Solo or American Express.
By direct debit
You can pay by direct debit in one, six (January to June only) or ten installments (January to October only).
To pay in six or ten installments you must send us your completed direct debit application form and registration form by 1 January each year.
Direct debit applications received after 1 January can be accepted but we'll divide the full charge by the months remaining until June or October to give your monthly payment.
We cannot accept any direct debit applications after September. There is no extra charge when paying for a boat registration by direct debit.
You do not need insurance to register an unpowered boat but we strongly recommend you have a minimum of third party insurance.
Unpowered tenders are eligible for a 50 per cent discount when registered at the same time as your main boat. A tender is a small boat or dinghy, towed or carried by your main boat.
We also offer discounted exemptions from the full-rate registration fee for unpowered boats owned by school, scouts, guides, youth and sports clubs.
The discounted rate is £8.50 per boat. There are some restrictions on numbers. See the application form for more information:
We have an agreement with British Rowing for all affiliated clubs to register their club boats through British Rowing. People who own their own boats, and keep them at British Rowing affiliated clubs, can also arrange with their clubs to register their private boats through the club at the reduced rate.
British Rowing affiliated clubs visiting our waterways can register their boats at the British Rowing ‘Visitor rate’ for an annual registration through British Rowing. They can also buy an Environment Agency unpowered visitor registration at any of our locks.
Members of Canoe England, Canoe Wales or the British Canoe Union can use one boat on the River Medway as part of their yearly membership fee. Members with more than one boat, and clubs owning boats, must apply to us for a separate registration for each additional boat.
Some unpowered boats are eligible for houseboat registration. These are charged at 50 per cent of the private powered registration. To qualify, boats must have:
- covered accommodation space (living space, storage space or similar); and
- no engine, or have the engine/propulsion system removed or permanently disabled.
You must have an insurance policy for your houseboat which covers third party liabilities up to at least £1,000,000. The insurance must be valid for the full duration of your registration.
We do not need a copy of the insurance certificate but you need to provide some details when you apply. We carry out sample checks on declarations.
You must register any boat fitted with an engine/propulsion system as a powered boat, even if you only live aboard or use it as accommodation.
For houseboat registration enquiries and to register your houseboat, please contact us.
Please call or email us if you have any questions about the application process, or if you have any problems filling in our boat registration forms. We’re here to help.
*Calls to 03 numbers cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and must count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls. These rules apply to calls from any type of line including mobile, BT, other fixed line or payphone.