Your questions answered
Arrival & Departure We endeavour to have boats ready for collection at 3.00pm on the start day of your holiday. If for any reason you are unable to arrive on time please contact the start base (telephone numbers page 10) or the Booking Office in order that special arrangements can be made well in advance of your holiday. A late arrival charge may apply and we may be unable to handover the boat until the following day. Your boat must be returned and vacated by 9.30am on the last day.
Tuition No previous experience is necessary, as our boats are extremely easy to handle and full tuition is given at the start of every holiday. Comprehensive cruising information is in a manual on the boat and details are sent out with the holiday documents to introduce you to the theory of locks and the ‘rules of the road’. We provide our own 24hr emergency helpline.
Maps & Guides A number of guides are available for planning your trip or locating sites of interest, pubs, shops and facilities along your route.The guides relevant to each route are indicated on the route information pages (12 to 27) and detailed on the back cover. These may either be ordered by post or purchased at the start of the holiday at the marina.
Licences & Restrictions You do not need a driving licence for a narrowboat and the boat itself is licenced by us for BW waterways. There are a few waterways outside their jurisdiction for which you will need to purchase an additional licence as you enter them, such as the Rivers Avon, Thames and Wey. Our start bases can provide details when you arrive to pick up your boat. The maximum number of people on board is restricted to the number of berths, with an absolute maximum of twelve.
Buoyancy Aids There are buoyancy aids available free of charge for both children and adults at the marinas (compulsory for children under the age of 18 and non-swimmers). They do not need to be booked in advance and should be requested upon arrival at the marina so the correct size can be fitted.
Young Children A narrowboat holiday is superb for families. Cot-sides can be provided for very small children on standard berths (see pictures on page 30). Simply indicate this on the booking form.
Cots If you would like to bring a travel cot please see page 30.
Pets This really is a holiday the whole family can enjoy together. We charge £30 for each pet (normally a maximum of 2 pets per boat). We obviously request that the boat is returned in a clean and tidy condition and reserve the right to refuse pets or charge for any additional cleaning or repairs required as a result of pets being on board during your holiday. Please contact the booking office to discuss your requirements. (We do not charge for guide dogs.)
Bikes If you are planning to bring bikes on your holiday please check with the booking office as not all locations are able to offer this facility. Please be aware that the only place to store them is on the roof of your boat. You cannot place the bikes inside the boat at any time. Any damage to the boat is your responsibility.
Fishing Fishing is prohibited on British rivers between 15th March and 15th June. Fishing is allowed outside these dates and on canals at any time, but an Environment Agency rod licence is required available online or from any post office, with a 1-day, 8-day or annual licence to choose from. You may also need a valid permit or be prepared to purchase one from the controlling angling club or riparian owner when approached on any fishery that offers day permits. For reasons of hygiene, we regret that live bait may not be kept on the boat.
Mobile Phone Charging All of our boats have a 12-volt electricity supply with a car-type cigar lighter socket that can be used with a mobile phone in-car adapter lead (bring your own lead). On some boats there is a 240-volt electricity supply that can be used for your own equipment at your own risk. 110-volt AC supply is not available in the UK.
Overseas Visitors If this brochure has a travel agent’s stamp, we recommend you make your booking via them – they will be able to help with other travel requirements in addition to the narrowboat holiday. Otherwise, you are welcome to book direct with us on +44 1905 734168. Payment is required in £’s sterling.
Bedding On all our boats freshly laundered bedding is provided.
Towels These are provided free of charge on all Alvechurch, Red Line, Reading Marine and Wessex boats and to overseas Viking Afloat customers. If you are from the UK and hiring a boat from Viking Afloat you will need to bring your own towels.
Extras There is a voluntary environmental offset donation suggested at £5 per holiday (see page 47). Page 32 details the items inclusive to your holiday. The only compulsory charges in addition to the brochure price are a fuel deposit, Cancellation Protection Fee (calculated at the rate of 4% of the hire charge) and non refundable Accidental Damage Waiver Fee at £50. We can also provide details of Personal Holiday Insurance for UK customers if required (strongly recommended). A 2% surcharge is applied to any payment made by credit card and £30 for each pet. Optional high level berths are £50 per week, £25 per short break each. See page 50 for more information regarding extras.
Fuel The boat is ready fuelled for your holiday on arrival, but there is a fuel deposit payable with your holiday booking. This is £75 per week and £40 per short break as the cost of fuel is not included in the hire cost. When you return the boat to us the balance is refundable after deducting fuel used. However if you have used fuel in excess of the deposit you will be asked to pay the difference. We feel this is the fairest way possible as you only pay for what you use and there is an incentive to be more environmentally friendly.
Groceries One of the pleasures of a canal holiday is the option to stop off and experience the towns and villages along the way, shopping as and when you need supplies. If you are unable to bring some groceries with you or stop and shop on arrival, there are details of how to get groceries for the start of your holiday in the ‘Holiday Guide’ that you will receive 8 weeks prior to your holiday.
Parking There is ample open air parking at our bases which is provided free of charge. We regret that we cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to hirers’ vehicles.
Look Before You Book We welcome inspection of our boats before you book. Please phone the bases before you arrive to ensure they are open and boats are available for viewing. (Details on page 10.)