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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

  • 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, 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

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

Our Deputy Marine Surveyor, supports the Marine Surveyor in ensuring that the PLA meets fully its statutory responsibility for inspecting, surveying and licensing vessels.


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.




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