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Vessel Licencing - Human-Powered Vessels

Human-powered vessels in commercial use on the tidal Thames must be licensed by the PLA.

Human-powered vessels are those intended for carrying persons but not propelled by mechanical means, such as rowing boats, kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards. These types of vessels are often hired to the public or used for guided excursions, and must be licensed.

A self-declaration scheme is now in place for human-powered vessels. Owners and Operators should fill in an HPV Form, listing all vessels in their fleet and submit this along with the required supporting documentation to [email protected]. Once the HPV form has been assessed by the Harbour Master, it can be used to apply for a fleet licence from the PLA's vessel licensing team.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your vessels require a licence from the PLA, or you have any queries regarding licensing of human-powered vessels, please contact [email protected].

HPV Construction Standards

Rowing Boats

Rowing Boats should be able to demonstrate a 5 year safe working history or be constructed in accordance with the requirements of the Recreational Craft Directive (2013/53/EU, 2003/44/EC or 94/25/EC) for the equivalent pleasure vessel.

Kayaks & Canoes

Kayaks and Canoes should be constructed to BS 7852:1997 Code of Practice for Design of Canoes and Kayaks or an equivalent standard acceptable to the PLA. Inflatable kayaks and canoes should not be used for commercial operations below Putney.

Stand-up Paddleboards

Stand-up Paddleboards should be constructed by a reputable manufacturer to an appropriate standard acceptable to the PLA.

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