Frequently Asked Questions
Before you go
What if I need to cancel?
One of the many benefits of booking with an agent like Blakes is that the booking conditions on UK boating holidays entitle you to a refund if you have to cancel for certain unavoidable reasons.
Is insurance necessary?
Your boat is insured by the operator, but you are expected to take reasonable care. Boatyards either require a refundable security deposit or a non-refundable damage waiver payment. Many boatyards will also offer you optional insurance against the cost of a diving service to clear a propeller fouled by your own negligence.
What about personal travel protection?
This insurance cover is optional and can be arranged by Blakes at very competitive rates.
Is boating suitable for everyone?
Pretty much, however, for practical and safety reasons boating holidays may be unsuitable for people with certain disabilities. If any member of your party is physically or mentally disabled, please advise us when booking and forward details so that the boatyard can be made fully aware and special assistance can be given where necessary and where possible.
Can we bring pets aboard?
Unless otherwise stated in the boat description, pets are welcome for a small charge. Pets are normally limited to two per boat, but dogs may be restricted according to size and type. If you wish to bring your pets, please enquire about the boatyard policy prior to your reservation. Please note: Registered guide and hearing dogs belonging to those with visual and hearing impairments are allowed on all boats featured on our website and in our brochure, even where the boat description states that pets are not allowed.
What should we take with us?
Take all the items you’d usually take on a self-catering holiday, such as condiments, tea towels, and matches. You should also pack non-slip shoes, a first aid kit and a torch for the evening. Apart from electrical shavers, please don’t bring domestic appliances such as hairdryers, heaters or lighting equipment. You are not normally allowed large items such as bicycles and canoes, although permission is given in certain circumstances. Dinghies can be towed behind you boat on the Broads.
Do you give us help and advice?
Our ‘safety first’ policy ensures that we take your wellbeing very seriously. You’ll receive a safety handbook when you book with us and there is also a Skipper’s Manual on board. In addition to help and advice you’ll receive from your boat operator, the information will tell you all about: • Piloting your boat safely • Suitable clothing and footwear • Safety aids on board • Speed limits on the water • What to do if your boat experiences mechanical difficulties
At the boatyard
When can we embark?
4.00pm is the normal time for seven nights’ hire or more and 2.30pm for a short break. Your boat should be returned to the boatyard by 9.00am on the last day of your holiday.
Where can we leave the car?
Car parking is free at canal bases, unless otherwise stated, and is available at all other boatyards for around £10 per week. Cars are parked at your own risk.
On the water
Are there any “rules” on the waterways?
There are a few simple rules and these are fully explained in the Skipper’s Manual provided on your boat. Please ensure you read this carefully.
Are locks tricky?
Not at all. You will be given expert tuition before you go so you can relax. Locks are simple and thousands of beginners negotiate them successfully every year.
How far can we travel on an average day?
4 to 5 hours cruising a day suits most people. This enables you to cover about 100-120 miles in a week, with plenty of time for “shore leave”. On the canals you may be able to cruise on waters not covered by your boat’s normal licence if you pay an extra fee.
Can I charge my mobile phone and camcorder whilst on the boat?
Most newer boats now have a conventional British three-pin plug socket on board. However, please check in advance if this feature is of particular importance to you. 240 volt AC power on board is suitable for low wattage devices such as cameras, mobile phones and games consoles. Electrical output on boats cannot be guaranteed for medical equipment, and we advise you in such instances to contact your hire base ahead of your holiday to discuss individual requirements.
Do all boats have toilet facilities?
All narrowboats and Broads & Thames cruisers are fitted with flushing toilets which may require pumping out during your hire. Simple and clean, this can be done at many service points for between £9 and £16 per service.
Can we fish on all rivers?
In England and Wales, you can fish at any time, except the closed seasons (mid March to mid June). You’ll need an Environment Agency Licence, available from Post Offices, some fisheries and regional EA office. These should be obtained before you holiday, In Scotland and Irelands, you can fish any time you like.
Are there speed limits?
Your boat will not have been built for speed, but will be perfect for watching the world go by. On the Norfolk Broads there is a leisurely speed limit of between 4mph and 6mph, whilst on the Thames you can travel up to 5mph.
What if the boat breaks down?
It shouldn’t do but, as with anything mechanical, problems can occur. In this unlikely event, simply contact the boatyard and a service engineer will be dispatched immediately.
Where can we stop overnight?
Free moorings are available along the waterways and at all Blakes affiliated boatyards. You can also tie up at private or local authority marinas, quays or harbours, where a charge is usually made.
What about fuel and water?
The diesel and water tanks will be full on arrival. Water will need topping up from time to time from one of the many points en route. Gas for cooking and the diesel should last for the duration of you cruise.
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