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Vessel Licensing

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 wash testing of Coaching Launches in the upper reaches.

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

Marine Surveyor - Jason Rudd

Marine Surveyor Jason RuddOur Marine Surveyor, Jason Rudd, leads the Vessel Licensing team which fulfills the statutory duty of the PLA to licence vessels operating commercially on the tidal Thames. The PLA is also approved by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency as a Certifying Authority for the national Small Commercial Vessel Code.


Deputy Marine Surveyor - Andrew Thomas


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