We have never steered a boat before!

Over 75% of our dayhirers are novices… so you’re in good company. Almost everyone comes back after a fantastic day with confidence in their new-found boating skills! Our experienced calm and knowledgeable staff will teach you all you need to know about boat handling and working the locks before we let you set off on your waterway adventure. And don’t forget we are just a phone call away in the unlikely event that you get into any difficulties.

Are the locks easy to work?

From Heyford and Thrupp the locks are “narrow” and as such an average fit adult should easily manage to operate these. Children love helping to push the gates open and wind the paddles with some sensible supervision. From Bradford (heading west) and Devizes there are no locks that you will be left to do yourself. If you head east from Bradford you can try the “wide” locks and swing-bridges towards Seend – these require a bit more strength to operate.

What about infants and toddlers?

We provide buoyancy aids for all under 16s and non swimmers.  However, babes-in-arms are generally too small for a buoyancy aid. Reins are a good buy to stop small people who are feeding ducks from falling in and a foldable buggy is very useful.

Can we bring our dogs?

Yes of course, dogs are completely free. However, we regret that we MUST charge for any extra work involved in clearing up pet mess, or any damage.

Can we bring bikes?

At our locations at Heyford and Thrupp the towpath is not ideal for cycling. If you want to bring bikes we recommend you choose Bradford on Avon or Devizes. Please note that bikes  (when not being ridden) would need to be carried in the front cockpit area – too many bikes could restrict the space available to enjoy the views from the cockpit.

What about Insurance?

Our boats are fully insured with public liability of up to £5M.  We do not provide cancellation insurance, so you may wish to take out your own insurance to cover cancellation, personal accident and loss of personal effects.

Safety and Training?

All of our boats are fully compliant with the Hireboat requirements of the Boat Safety Scheme. The gas system is tested annually and certificated. Full safety training will be given when you first arrive on the boat, including use of life rings, buoyancy aids, fire procedures etc. The handover procedure and the boating tuition, depending on previous boating experience, may take up to one hour – included in the hire period – but please be assured that we will not leave you until we are happy that you can handle the boat safely and confidently. You can download a copy of The Boater’s Handbook from our website and when you book you will be sent a link to watch the Boaters Safety video.

What happens if we have any problems?

This is very unlikely after our comprehensive tuition, but please feel reassured that we man our phones through your cruising day.

Where can we stop or moor the boat?

You can moor anywhere along the towpath unless signs tell you otherwise.  Some places such as pubs or country parks have their own offside moorings.

Are there any extras?

Dayhire includes all fuel & gas used – there are no extras, but we do take a fully refundable £200 security deposit on the day against safe clean and timely return of the boat with no third party complaints outstanding.

Can someone steer the boat for me?

Our boats are self drive hire (viz. ‘Bare Boat Charter’). We are not able to crew the boat for you except in emergency.  Any member of the party may steer the boat with the hirer’s permission and provided they are within drink-drive/drug-drive limits just as on the roads. Children are welcome to have a go at steering the boat, but must be under the direct supervision of the hirer.