Illegal boaters on Anglian rivers faced fines of nearly £5k in February

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6 boaters have been forced to forfeit more than £4,800 between them for not registering their vessels as required by the law.

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

And the Environment Agency is warning that boaters who fail to do so could face thousands of pounds in penalties, walk away with a criminal record, and even have their boats permanently confiscated.

Last month, 9 boaters had to pay over £9,100 for not registering their boats.

So far this financial year, enforcement action against those avoiding registration charges has led to the recovery of £102,456.

These funds – as well as the properly paid registration charges – will be reinvested back into Anglian waterways to protect, maintain and improve them for everyone.

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, our health and wellbeing, and our economy.

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.

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, which includes the Ancholme, Black Sluice, Glen, Welland, Nene, Great Ouse and Stour, as well as associated locks, moorings and other navigation facilities.

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 email

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