Water Taxis/Tour Boats - Commercial Passenger Vessels

Water Taxis/Tour Boats - Commercial Passenger Vessels

A “Commercial Passenger Vessel” is any boat that carries passengers for hire including but not limited to a water taxi, tour boat, charter boat cruise, dinner, excursion, ferry, harbor tender, fishing or diving boats.  The license is issued at the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection office located at 2350 W. Ogden Avenue, 1st floor.


License Requirements:

For each vessel applicants must provide the following:

  • Documentation indicating that it is in compliance with Chicago Marine Coast Guard or other applicable federal or state agency requirements.
  • Documentation indicating that proper insurance has been obtained in accordance with applicable federal requirements.
  • Documentation indicating compliance with applicable waste disposal requirements.Provide temporary or permanent dock location within the City of Chicago, state whether it is on City owned property, and provide documentary proof of a lease, license, or other agreement by the owner of the property giving consent to such docking.
  • Provide all established routes of service, including all embarkation and destination locations, days and hours of service, and frequency of service.
  • Provide the refund and cancellation policy or procedure.
  • For scheduled services, provide the rates of fare and any discounts offered.
  • Illinois Secretary of State Certificate of Good Standing, Corporate Articles and Minutes.


Application forms:

Read the Water Taxi/Tour Boats (Commercial Passenger Vessel) Ordinance:

Commercial Passenger Vessels are regulated under chapter 4-250-020 of the Chicago Municipal Code.

Water Taxis/Tour Boats (Commercial Passenger Vessel) Ordinance.


Chicago businesses must comply with all relevant federal, state, and City laws and rules. All laws and rules of the City of Chicago including the Consumer Protection Law and Rules, are accessible to the public using the following link: Municipal Code of Chicago, Illinois

License Fee:

$350.00           (capacity for 20 or more passengers)

$75.00             (capacity for less than 20 passengers)


License Term:

May 1st - April 30th


How to Apply: 

Apply via email by emailing required documents to: BACPPV@cityofchicago.org or Apply in person by bringing all required documents and a completed license application form to:

Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Public Vehicle Operations Facility

2350 W. Ogden Ave., 1st floor.

Chicago, IL 60608

Phone: 312.746.4200

E-mail questions to:  BACPPV@cityofchicago.org


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