Marine licensing guidance for recreational divers

This guidance has been compiled to help recreational divers to ascertain whether diving activities may be licensable.



When do I need a marine licence for recreation diving?

In most cases the activities undertaken in the course of a recreational dive will be limited to deposit and removal activities.

The circumstances in which the activity is carried out are key to understanding whether or not a marine licence is required. In addition to the information provided on the respective deposit and removal activity pages, the MMO has produced a recreational dive activity table to assist you.

Requirements under other legislation

The need for a marine licence as set out in this document does not absolve divers from requirements under other legislation. Divers should familiarise themselves with those requirements to ensure compliance. Requirements likely to be relevant to divers include, but are not limited to, those set out below:

Health and Safety

The Diving at Work regulations 1997, including the HSE ACOPS

The approved code of practice and associated guidance is available here

Historic environment

Details of the law and responsibilities of divers under relevant legislation including details of the process for reporting wreck can be found here.

Other environmental

You must have a marine wildlife licence if you want to carry out an activity in the marine area that would otherwise be an offence under UK legislation (disturb, take or kill protected species).

As the issue of a wildlife licence permits an offence to be committed, such as disturbance or taking of a species, a licence is issued as a last resort.

Full details about marine wildlife licence requirements can be found here.

Details of the law and responsibilities of divers under other relevant legislation can be found here.

Published 17 April 2018
Last updated 7 June 2018 + show all updates
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