More than a quarter of today’s 33,000 boats moored on UK waterways are used as primary residences as opposed to ten years ago when it was just 10 per cent of 31,000 boats.1
By law, residential boat owners need a TV Licence to watch live television, or catch up TV on BBC iPlayer. This is true no matter what device is used, how the programmes are received, or whether the boat is cruising or moored.
Karen Grimason, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “A life afloat has become an appealing option for many, so it is important boat owners understand the same rules apply when it comes to watching TV. We don’t want anyone to be caught out of their depth if they are found watching live TV, or BBC programmes on iPlayer, on board without a valid licence. If caught, boat owners face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
Beryl McDowall, General Secretary of the Residential Boat Owners’ Association (RBOA), said: “There are many things to consider when taking the plunge and moving to a life on water. These include sorting out a boat licence, surveying costs, safety certificates, as well as insurance. It’s also important boat owners understand all of the legal responsibilities, which include getting a TV Licence if their boat is their main residence – we don’t want anyone to get caught out.”
It’s easy to pay for a TV Licence or update details online, using a forwarding address if necessary. There are many ways to spread the cost, including weekly, fortnightly or monthly cash payment plans and direct debit options, which can be set up quickly. You do not need a fixed address to receive your TV Licence, as a licence can be arranged for your boat and sent to you by email.
Canal boat owners should visit tvlicensing.co.uk/ni for more information about when a licence is needed.