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Vessel Licensing

The Port of London Authority’s Vessel Licensing Team inspects and licences nearly 800 commercially operated vessels a year, fulfilling the PLA’s statutory licensing duty.  Our Marine Surveyors are also able to provide services for third parties on commercial vessels which include:

  • New Build Consultancy Services

  • Certification under the MCA Small Commercial Vessel Codes

  • Inland Waterways Certification

  • Insurance Surveys

Surveys can be completed anywhere in the UK and Europe, usually within two weeks of receiving instruction.

Statutory Inspections

The Port of London Authority (PLA), through powers granted to it by the Port of London Act 1968 (as amended) is responsible for the licensing of inland waterways vessels operating commercially on the tidal Thames.

To achieve this, the PLA assesses vessels against the Thames Freight Standard, a nationally recognised technical standard for Inland Waterways non-passenger vessels; and the Inland Waterways Small Passenger Boat Code, as appropriate. Inspections are undertaken by two qualified Marine Surveyors, Jason Rudd and Andrew Thomas, who work closely with owners and operators to ensure that the required safety, technical and competency standards are met.

Vessels operating on the tidal Thames are required to be licensed by the PLA, unless they are certificated by another recognised authority, such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, another navigation authority or local authority. The PLA’s Vessel Licensing Team also approves Ship Towage Tugs for towing operations in the port and undertakes Certificate of Compliance Inspections for vessels wishing to travel at High Speeds in the appropriate Zones between Margaretness and Wandsworth.

The links below provide additional information about which vessels are subject to licensing and information relating to the standards utilised by the PLA in inspecting and licensing vessels on the Thames.

Email (Statutory Licensing Enquiries): licensingenquiries@pla.co.uk

Information, guidance and regulations

Marine Surveyor - Jason Rudd

Marine Surveyor Jason Rudd

Our Marine Surveyor, Jason Rudd, leads the Vessel Licensing team. Jason draws upon a wide range of experience from many years in the marine and fishing industry and represents the PLA, both locally and nationally, on vessel licensing matters. He works to ensure that all vessels on the PLA register, including PLA owned vessels, are compliant with the Thames Freight Standard and Inland Waters Small Passenger Boat Code through inspections and close liaison with vessel owners.


Deputy Marine Surveyor - Andrew Thomas

Our Deputy Marine Surveyor, Andrew Thomas, supports the Marine Surveyor in ensuring that the PLA meets fully its statutory responsibility for inspecting, surveying and licensing vessels. Andrew draws upon unique experience, ranging from an apprenticeship in the traditional wooden boat-building to representation of the marine industry at national and international levels. 




Assistant to the Marine Surveyor – Miles Featherstone

Our Assistant to the Marine Surveyor, Miles Featherstone, supports the Marine Surveyor and Deputy in the development, maintenance and delivery of the Vessel Licensing regime. Miles joined the Vessel Licensing Team after undertaking the PLA’s three year Marine Trainee Scheme, where he gained a wide range of experience across the spectrum of the  Port’s operations.



Click here for more information about Vessel Licensing

Port of London Authority - Certifying Authority

The Port of London Authority is a Certifying Authority appointed by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency to certificate commercial vessels under 24m which are subject to the requirements of the Small Commercial Vessel Code (SCV); otherwise known as "The Harmonised Code" (See MGN 280). The PLA’s team of Surveyors are approved to undertake examinations on Motor Vessels, RIBs, Workboats, Tugs and Pilot Boats, in all sea areas from Categories 0 to 6. The requirements for the vessel primarily relate to the nature of its operations, distance from a safe haven, limiting weather and if overnight passages are undertaken.

Email (SCV Coding): mcacoding@pla.co.uk

If you would like to contact Vessel Licensing, you can write to them at:

London River House
Royal Pier Road
DA12 2BG
Tel: +44(0)1474 562200
Fax: +44 (0)1474 562277

Office Map Location (opens in new window)

Alternatively, use this Enquiry Form