Like other non-commercial boats on the tidal Thames, residential boats do not need to be licensed or registered, which may help explain why the Port of London Authority (PLA) has had no need to define them to date. The PLA is hoping to amend their Act shortly, giving for the first time its own formal definition of a houseboat. Compared to the other changes being proposed in their Harbour Revision Order (HRO), this may seem trivial. The heading as used here is what is being proposed for ‘houseboat’ in the PLA Act, where there was no such definition previously. The explanatory notes for why this change was being proposed says ‘This new definition has been added in order to help clarify the definition of vessel and the definitions of master and owner in relation to houseboats’. But is this definition necessary and is it right?
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