The number of motor boats registered for use on the  non-tidal Thames has  increased this year despite the poor weather and rising licence fees .

Figures obtained by River Thames News show the number of annual licences issued for private powered vessels for 2012 is up by 180 compared with last year.

The figures follow an enforcement drive by the Environment Agency whose teams check boats in marinas and tributaries as well as on the river. New rules mean a boat must be licensed if it is afloat whether or not it is used.

A total of 9,212 licences have been issued by the Environment Agency compared with 9,032 in 2011. Hire boats and passenger boats also showed increases.

But the number of licences for unpowered boats issued by the EA office dropped from 2,283 to 1,825. This figure does not include licences issued via clubs which have a special arrangement to issue licences for their own and members’ boats.

The number of houseboats on the non-tidal river has dropped by nine.

Comparative figures for the various classes (with 2011 figures in brackets ) are:

Powered private 9212 (9032)
Powered hire 166 (155)
Powered day hire164 (161)
Powered charter hire 44 (44)
Powered passenger 61 (56)
Houseboats 81 (90)
Unpowered (issued from office) 1825 (2283)

Last week the agency announced next year’s registration charge for boats licensed to use the river would rise by 4.6%.

Story dated November 20th 2012

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