TV Licensing is urging boat dwellers on Lough Neagh and across Northern Ireland to ensure they are correctly licensed to watch TV.
By law, residential boat owners who are watching or recording TV programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV need to be licensed. This is true no matter what device is used, how the programmes are received, or whether the boat is cruising or moored.
Caoimhe Moore, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “We know an increasing number of people are choosing an alternative lifestyle afloat with an estimated 15,000 houseboat owners in the UK. It is important they understand the law when it comes to watching or recording TV programmes.”
“We don’t want anyone in Northern Ireland to experience that ‘sinking feeling’ if they are found watching live TV on board without a valid licence. If caught, boat owners face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.”
It’s easy to pay for a TV Licence or update details online, using a forwarding address if necessary. There are many ways to spread the cost, including weekly, fortnightly or monthly cash payment plans and direct debit options, which can be set up quickly. You do not need a fixed address to receive your TV Licence, as a licence can be arranged for your boat and sent to you by email.
Sorwar Ahmed, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “There are all sorts of things boat owners need to take into account if they’re planning on living a life on the water. These include surveying costs, safety certificates, insurance and a boat licence, not to mention fuel and electricity, and regular maintenance work. It’s important to remember other responsibilities, like a TV Licence, when considering costs – we don’t want anyone to get caught out.
“Boat living is a completely different way of life, and one that doesn’t suit everybody.” TV Licensing’s comprehensive database of over 30 million addresses is the primary tool used to catch evaders. This includes residential houseboat addresses.