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Policy Information

Rules and requirements for passenger boats in Ireland

Published: 8 August 2019
From: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Passenger boat licence

All vessels carrying up to 12 passengers for reward (which means they pay a fee to travel on the boat) or where persons are being carried onboard to / from a place of work, are required to hold a valid passenger boat licence.

Before a passenger boat licence can be issued the boat must be surveyed by a Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport marine surveyor who must certify that the vessel complies with the law. The fee for an initial passenger boat licence is €144.

This requirement was set out in Merchant Shipping Passenger Boat Regulations, as amended. The technical requirements for the different types of licence (P1 – P6) are set out in the Merchant Shipping Passenger Boat Regulations, as amended.


Exempt vessels

The following class of vessel is exempt:

Vessels, being open vessels of no less than 4 metres in length, carrying no more than 3 passengers on board for the purpose of angling and engaged on domestic voyages in smooth waters on canals, rivers, lakes and loughs.

Owners are required to make a declaration stating that they carry the required safety equipment. Declaration forms available from the Marine Survey Office (MSO)


  • the Statutory Instruments 274 of 2002 and 556 of 2002 set out the exemptions from the regulations as well as safety requirements for the exempted vessels.

Competency Requirements for Masters

Masters of passenger boats (vessels licensed to carry not more than 12 passengers) must undergo appropriate training and testing to operate a passenger boat. The Regulations also require that all Masters of passenger boats hold a valid certificate and a commercial endorsement from 1 April 2006.

Skippers can visit Bord Íascaigh Mhara or the Irish Sailing Association for more information.



Commercial Sailing Craft - Passenger Boat Licence - Rules of Equivilancy


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