Scottish Canals' Evasion Process Guidelines

What happens if a customer doesn’t have a valid licence and mooring permit for their boat?

Section 19 (6) of the British Transport Commission Act 1958 gives us the power to remove an unlicensed vessel from our waters and ultimately, we can sell, destroy or dispose of the boat; using the proceeds of the sale to offset any money owed by the customer and costs incurred by us whilst carrying out the evasion and disposal process.


So how does this work in practice?

If your vessel is without a valid licence or mooring for more than 30 days we will write to you with a reminder, giving you 7 days to sort the matter out.

If you sort out your licence and mooring within the 7 days a £50 administration fee will be applied but no further action will be taken.

However, if after those 7 days your boat is still without a valid licence or mooring, we will send you a second letter, this time by recorded post, notifying you of our intention to take action under Section 19 (6) of the British Transport Commission Act 1958. This may include removal and sale of the vessel.

If you sort out your licence and mooring before this second 7 day deadline a further £50 administration fee will be applied, but no further action will be taken.

However, if the second 7 day deadline passes we will take action under Section 19 (6) of the British Transport Commission Act 1958, notifying you by a recorded delivery letter and affixing a notice to the mast of the vessel (or other prominent place). This will mean that the vessel is removed from our waters (if possible) and secured, normally by changing door locks. We will take photographs of the vessel before we do this and will also photograph and list any personal items we find aboard, so that we can arrange to return them. The vessel will then be placed for sale through a reputable local brokerage and any balance of money from the sale, after deducting amounts owed by the customer and costs incurred by Scottish Canals, will be returned to the customer. The sale price achieved by the brokerage will vary depending on the prevailing market circumstances, and Scottish Canals will accept the first reasonable offer made to the brokerage. In some instances, the vessel may not be in a suitable condition for sale and may not be accepted for brokerage. In these circumstances, the vessel may be destroyed or disposed of for scrap and any money raised will be offset against customer debts and costs incurred by Scottish Canals. 

On occasion the amount raised when selling or disposing the vessel may not cover the entirety of the customer’s debts and Scottish Canals costs, in which case there will be no balance to be returned to the customer.