Department for Transport

Inland Waters Small Passenger Boat Code


17.1 Vessels should comply with the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Distress Signals and Prevention of Collisions) Regulations 1996, SI 1996 No.75. In some areas these will be modified by local bylaws, which will be published by the navigation or other local authority  –  e.g. British Waterways, General Canal Byelaws 1965, Thames Navigation Licensing and general bylaws.

17.2 A vessel which operates only between sunrise and sunset is not required by the international regulations to carry navigation lights.  However, in areas where there is a risk of collision in poor visibility, it is advisable to use navigation lights.  The local Navigation Authority should be consulted if in doubt.    

17.3 Vessels operating through tunnels should also carry a white spotlight or headlight.  

17.4 Sound signalling equipment should comply with the Regulations. A vessel of less than 12 metres in length is not obliged, unless required by local byelaws, to carry the sound signaling equipment required by the Regulations on the condition that some other means of making an efficient sound signal is provided.