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registation numbers

can someone please explain in laymans terms licence numbering.e.g.registered at Watford?
Any No prefixed with N or g or z etc. Which No or Nos should be displayed? Thanks

Asked by: Bob  | 8.55pm, Tuesday 28 April


WW says:

Technically boats haven't been "registered" since the provisions of the canal boat acts... Owners use it since "licensed" doesn't have the same ring!
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Boats registered with the Canals and Rivers Trust (formally BW/BWB) have a five or six digit number, which has to be clearly displayed on either side of the boat (see the licence conditions for more information).
Boats that have a B prefix are those registered with CRT that are based on the Bridgewater canal, which is separate navigation authority.
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Other navigation authorities have different numbering systems, such as the Environment Agency on the Nene/Great Ouse, which is different to the Thames registration with the EA.
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As there is no central boat licensing for inland waterways, some numbers are duplicated, on different networks (such as those on the Broads, under the Broads Authority).
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One of the few national registration schemes is provided by the Small Ships Register, though few inland craft, unless they venture offshore/overseas or are predominantly based on rivers, bother to register. These numbers are prefixed with SSR and would be displayed in addition to other registration marks.
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to confuse matters further, there are also "trade plates" on different navigations, which combine index numbers with the licence (much like trade plates for cars).
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And that's really just the tip of the iceberg...! Every navigation authority has their own system... And even, such as within the EA, different systems within one body...

Mark Langley  | 9.20PM, Tuesday 28 April

The term "Registered at Brentford" or Manchester or another place is often seen on historic boat cabins, has nothing to do with the canal authority. It relates to the registration of the boat with the local authority that the cabin has been inspected and passed as living accommodation, which was required by Act of Parliament.
Modern traditional narrowboats often paint "Reg at Watford" to replicate this, but put the BW/CRT index number, with Watford referring to the BW head office being at Watford. Nowadays it would be Leeds which is the CRT craft licensing office.
Incidentally a B prefix to an index number means that the boat is registered with the Bridgewater Canal Company.

Rupert Smedley  | 11.04AM, Wednesday 29 April

The Canal Boat Act of 1877 and the amendment in 1884 required boat cabins to be inspected and certified for a specific number of occupants.

Rupert Smedley  | 11.21AM, Wednesday 29 April

There is a list of registration numbers in the the appendix to the Inland Boat Owners Book published by WW. This shows the lengths of boats to which the numbers were issued and the dates that they were issued. Unfortunately, it only goes up to 2007 which is when the book was last updated.

Graham Booth  | 1.57PM, Wednesday 29 April


Readers say:

Thanks for that. still not a lot wiser ho hum.

Bob  | 10.03PM, Tuesday 28 April

I contacted the CRT licencing office before repainting my boat, as I wanted to use the traditional "registered at.." wording instead of the registration plates supplied. They were quite happy that I could incorporate the CRT licence number into this text, the only proviso being that the number should be clearly visible on both sides. I didn't need to include any CRT logo. Common sense prevails!

Robert Wood  | 10.40AM, Friday 10 July

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