Bedford man fined for not registering boat he kept on Environment Agency waterways Photo by Gordon Plant on Unsplash

Environment Agency warns register your vessels or pay the price

Five boaters are facing extra expenses this Christmas after they’ve been ordered to pay more than £7,000 for flouting the law.

They failed to register their vessels, and the Environment Agency is warning other boaters not to do the same or they could face fines, fees and even a criminal conviction.

Boat owners are legally required to register any vessel they keep, use or let for hire on Environment Agency waterways. They must also clearly display a valid registration plate.

But Christopher Smart of Priory Marina, Barkers Lane (Bedford), William Headen of High Street, Offord Cluny (St Neots), Peter Clare of Brunel Road, Stevenage, Ian McDonald of Riverside Island Marina, Isleham, and Kevin Simington of Muir Street, Silvertown (London) all failed to do so.

£73,000 of avoided registration charges recouped so far this year

Nathan Arnold, waterways team leader at the Environment Agency, said:

“Our waterways are part of our nation’s rich heritage and beauty, and they contribute to our environment, economy and health and wellbeing.

“But boaters who break the law by not registering their boats are putting the future of these historic and precious waterways at risk – so we won’t hesitate to take action against them.”

Four of the cases were proved at Cambridge Magistrates Court on 13 December. Mr Smart’s case was proved at Luton Magistrates Court on 11 December.

Mr Headen was ordered to pay £1,290, Mr Clare £1212, Mr McDonald £1,778, Mr Simington £1,098 and Mr Smart £1,694 in the next 28 days.

It brings the total of avoided registration charges recouped by the Environment Agency so far this year to £73,000. This money will be reinvested into maintaining, improving and protecting waterways.

As well as not contributing their fair share towards the upkeep of waterways, unregistered boats can be unsafe, hazardous to other river users and a pollution risk to the local environment and wildlife.

The Environment Agency looks after 353 miles of navigable waterways in the Anglian network. This includes the Ancholme, Black Sluice, Glen, Welland, Nene, Great Ouse and Stour, as well as associated locks and navigation facilities like slipways, moorings, showers and toilets.

More information about boating and waterways, including registering vessels, is available from the Environment Agency.

If you suspect a boat is illegal, please contact the EA on 03708 506 506 or via email