View Full Version : Do i need a license

30-Dec-09, 08:14 PM
hi everybody, i just picked up my flyingfish marlin today and took it for a trial run down on uphill beach near weston super mare, very cold but great fun, i got home and received a phone call from my father in law saying he has heard a pilots license is needed to use a hovercraft can any one help with the legal side of using a hovercraft on public land / seas.
thanks in advance

Ross Floyd
30-Dec-09, 08:20 PM
Please do not operate at Weston at present - doing so could compromise all our efforts to arrange a workable scheme. There has been information about this on the forum.

30-Dec-09, 08:25 PM
thanks for the quick response, i used the craft on the mud flats at uphill not on weston sands, i literally just joined the forum seconds before i posted my first thread, can you give me any info about what i need to legally use the marlin on the sands or seas.

John Robertson
30-Dec-09, 08:31 PM
As Ross says things are critical at the moment in the Weston area. One wrong move from a hovercrafter and it could be the last time anyone operates in that area!

A enormous amount of work has gone into getting negotiations this far - please hold off until we get things sorted!

Current info on the situation is at:

Take a look at:
.... for some basic guidance


Ross Floyd
30-Dec-09, 08:35 PM

It is absolutely critical at present Gary - you were very lucky not to be busted by the beach wardens - Uphill/Weston are all the same thing and we have been working for over a year to get craft allowed on the beach. Now couldn't be a worse time to go down there. Additionally the flats are for access to the water, not an operating area in their own right - or you'll have English Nature after you too!

It is a good idea to ask on the forum to get local information about launch sites and restrictions. Sadly at this end of the Channel there is nowhere you can launch legally, hence the long and convoluted negotiations about Weston. Literally tens of thousands of words, reports, meetings, demonstrations - a huge amount of time and effort.

If you are new to hovercraft, perhaps you would like to pm me and we can meet up some time.

Best regards


John Robertson
30-Dec-09, 08:46 PM
There seems to be a strange echo around here :)

Sorry if we seem to be ganging up on you Gary - you've probably got the message by now!

All going well we should be holding another novice training event in the spring - well worth coming along to as it will help you get over the initial "control" issues quickly and may also save your life one day!

To answer your original question - no, you don't need a licence to operate a hovercraft. The HCGB does operate a licence scheme aimed at improving skills and safety - see http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/index.php?pageid=plic#

It's also a good idea to register your hovercraft - see http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/index.php?pageid=craftreg#

30-Dec-09, 08:56 PM
hi ross
last thing i would want to do is jeopardise your good work so will hold off any more trips to uphill, no one said anything to me , maybe it was too cold for anyone in authority, at the time i wasnt a member of the club so would have pleaded genuine ignorance , i was recomended to go there by several people who said it was ok to use the area.
can you please tell me if any form of license is actually needed, i bought the craft to use on the sea around sidmouth, we have a caravan at ladram bay with a slipway to the sea via a private beach all i would have to do is pay a fiver to launch but want to gain some experience hence todays little jaunt.

30-Dec-09, 08:59 PM
thanks john
i dont mind being ganged upon (is that a real word?) i just dont want to start upsetting anyone . im up for the novice training in the spring, how do i book a place.

30-Dec-09, 09:01 PM
sorry ross but what does pm mean?

Ross Floyd
30-Dec-09, 09:15 PM
pm - private message

Sorry to send an unfriendly blast as your first intro to hovercraft & the Club - however it just proves we need a scheme for Weston.

We are trying to set a date for the next pilot training session - it will hopefully be at Abbots Leigh near Bristol and run by Ian Brooks.

I cut my teeth at Uphill many years ago ( see the pic of the BBV2 with mud on the bows- my profile page ) but in the last few years there have been some silly things done by silly people and the authorities decided no more hovercraft - hence the panic. Of course there is absolutely nothing to SAY you can't operate at Uphill - that is one of the problems.

If you get in touch with me we can meet up some time and kick lift fans.

OH - and don't forget - wash it down in fresh water - throughly , dry the engines and empty a few cans of WD40 over everything metal or electrical.


30-Dec-09, 09:26 PM
next question! how do i send a private message.?
also how do i find the cruising site guides?
is there anywhere local to bristol i can take the craft without getting myself or the club into bother, can we use the severn estuary if we launch from a proper slope, what about burnham on sea can we launch from the seafont into the sea (if its not to choppy)?
sorry for the questions but if i dont ask i wont know.last question (honest) can we go down the avon if we can launch safely?

30-Dec-09, 09:49 PM
I wasn't aware of any restrictions at Western, or for that matter, any beaches around the

British isles. My only understanding is that its all down to local bylaws ..

Surely if this is such a critical issue, why doesn't it have a prominent warning / sticky on

the home page??

Then again, if a person dosen't visit the site, or know of it, how can they be aware of any


Perhaps a page dedicated to known OK / NOK beaches would be a good idea.

Might save some unintentional grief in future


Ian Brooks
30-Dec-09, 10:54 PM

I've just spent the last few evenings writing an Environmental Impact Assessment for Weston - you would not believe the hoops you have to jump through to do anything in this country these days.

The last hurdle (w hope) that we have to get over to get the access scheme into pllace is Natural England consent - this is due to the designation as a SSSI. Ironically, if the scheme was in plalce already, you would have seen large signs indicating the acceptable use areas for hovercraft hence this issue would not occur! We can spin this to a positive by pointing out tot he powers-that-be that the scheme is safer than no scheme.

We'll let you know when things free up - hopefully the scheme will be operational by the spring. Also we need to define the date for the training event - I'lll be in touch with Ross ASAP!!!!!


John Robertson
31-Dec-09, 07:38 AM

Cruising site guides are in the Members Area menu item at the top of each screen.

To PM someone just click on the little up/down arrow to the right of their username (on the left side of any post they have made).


There are restrictions of some kind EVERYWHERE in the UK - as a cruiser (or any watercraft owner for that matter) it is your responsibility to make yourself aware of them. The "how to find a cruise site..." guide gives pointers to where you can locate information for any area. We also publish a list of "OK" sites (see link above) but, without input from members, the list isn't going to get any bigger (there is a template available at http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/showthread.php?t=2151 - if anyone needs help using it or has any questions, please contact any member of the Recreational Committee.

Full information on "Where to go" is shown on the home page under "Cruising" - http://www.hovercraft.org.uk/showthread.php?t=18850

As to operating on beaches, our advice is very clear (see Code of Conduct, etc) - it is DON'T. Crossing a beach to reach water is perfectly OK but, in general, operating ON a beach (or mud flat) for any length of time seems to be the main reason why hovercraft have such a bad reputation amongst authorities and has resulted in many "bans" and other difficulties that we have spent considerable effort in the last couple of years trying to overturn.

Disclaimer :)
Like any "rule" - there are exceptions! If you have access to an isolated beach that is empty, has no houses nearby and isn't an SSSI/SAC/SPA/nature reserve/bird sanctuary/etc then it's probably OK to use it.

31-Dec-09, 10:47 AM
On a cynical note on SSS I's if your donald trump and want to build a golf course over one of the only types of habitat of it's kind in Europe designated a SSSI you can Simples!!!!! All you need is a lot of money and a spineless local council and your done!

Positive head back on I think the work our club RC do is excellent and will secure the ability for us to using cruising hovercraft responsibly in coastal areas well in to the future.


1-Jan-10, 08:31 AM
down here on the Cornwall/Devon border the tidal Tamar upstream from the Tamar Bridge is an SSSI, but there are no restrictions other than a 10 knot speed limit on the whole river, after a few emails to English Nature as to where I should avoid they replied with... legally nowhere was out of bounds BUT at low tide could I avoid the large mudflats where there was vegetation. I also realised that they had problems getting out to the mudflats to survey them, so to gain a few brownie points I have volunteered to take them out to these areas. Now instead of being a potential problem I have become a usefull resource. :D

Ross Floyd
1-Jan-10, 02:30 PM
An example of positive thinking!