How easy is it to drive a narrowboat?
Vita is 56ft long which which may sound quite long! But, once you pick up the few basic rules and have a bit of slow practice she's quite easy to get used to and manoeuvre. We will provide full instruction on the handling and steering of the narrowboat. Also there is a manual on board if you need to clarify anything. You can also contact us if you need any assistance. We will be happy to accompany you to begin with for as long as you, or we, feel is necessary. We will also see you through the first lock which is just round the corner from our base.
Who is the holiday suited to?
Many people enjoy narrowboat holidays from couples, families and groups of friends.It is a great opportunity to enjoy life at a slower pace and visit places without the frustration of traffic jams and parking problems. Children enjoy the freedom of outdoor life and can participate by operating locks and can even have a go at steering under adult supervision. We would recommend that children wear buoyancy aids and are supervised at all times. You will need to bring a travel cot for babies.
I’ve never been on a narrowboat before
You are welcome to view the boat, please call first so we can make sure someone is available to show you around.
What is there to do?
As well as enjoying the tranquillity of the river there are many places to stop and explore. Guildford, Godalming, Farncombe and Weybridge provide lots of shopping opportunities and the cinema in Guildford has its own mooring where you can also access the many shops, pubs and restaurants. In Guildford you can visit the theatre, the cinema, museums, churches and Guildford Castle set in its very attractive grounds. The Spectrum leisure centre is within walking distance which has swimming, ice skating and 10-pin bowling. Further afield, you can reach Windsor Castle, Hampton Court, RHS Wisley Gardens and Legoland and Thorpe Park. Why not try fishing (licence required - see below) or look out for ducks, swans and kingfishers. In the evening moor up at a pub, take advantage of the board games provided or have a cosy night in watching a dvd.
What about fuel and water?
The boat will be filled with diesel and water. We will demonstrate how to refill the water tank which you will need to do at various water points along the route. The diesel tank will be full on your arrival and will need to be returned full. On production of the receipt, fuel monies will be returned by bank transfer at the end of your holiday - up to the value of 100 litres. Any fuel used over and above 100 litres shall be at the Hirer's own expense. The boat is also fitted with a fresh water filter making it suitable for drinking.
Can we bring the dog?
We operate a restricted pet policy as some of our returning customers have allergies. So we only accept dogs by prior agreement up to a maximum of 2 dogs.
Where can we moor?
You can moor anywhere on the towpath side of the River Wey for free, except for lock waiting areas, turning points or where signs advise you otherwise.
Can I fish?
You can fish from the boat (a licence is required which is available from any post office) or online from www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing.You can bring your own equipment and accessories. Please do not use live bait on the boat. Closed fishing season is from March to June.
Do I need a boating licence?
Our boat is licenced to cruise the River Wey. Please let us know if you intend to explore other waterways and we can advise on whether additional licences are required.
What about insurance?
We have insurance cover for most damages to the boat (Please read our Terms & Conditions) However, you should purchase your own personal travel insurance for everyone in your party, which should include cancellation cover, personal accident and loss of personal items. You may already have this cover with your household insurance.
Can we bring electrical items?
The boat has 12 volt points and there are standard 240v sockets. There are shaver points and a hairdryer is provided. You can bring some low power use items - but please check with us first as higher power items will flatten the boats batteries very quickly or trip the electrics leaving you with no power!
What is provided on the boat?
Bedding : Duvets, pillows, pillowcases, duvet covers and sheets. A hand towel will be provided in each bathroom and other towels can be provided upon request at a cost of £5 per towel.
Kitchen equipment : Gas oven, grill and hob, microwave, fridge, toaster, kettle, coffee maker, filtered water jug, all cutlery, crockery, tea towels, oven gloves and cooking utensils.
Entertainment : Colour TV with Freeview channels (please note reception can be poor on the water and when travelling on the river). DVD player, radio, board games and books.
Safety equipment : Smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, First aid kit, fire blanket, fire extinguishers, life ring, buoyancy aids.
Hardware : Boarding plank, pole, lock keys, windlasses, mooring spikes, mallet, hosepipe, ropes.
Bathrooms : Tiled shower, vanity sink with storage, electric flush toilet, hand towel, hairdryer (only to be used with engine running) and loo rolls.
What should we wear?
Casual, warm and comfortable clothing, non slip footwear. The weather can be colder on the water, waterproofs are recommended and an umbrella may come in very handy!
What about food provisions?
Provide us with a list of provisions (payable on arrival) and we will ensure it will be on board for your departure. There are many places on route where you can stop and replenish your supplies
For how long can we hire a canal boat?
Boat hire is less flexible than car hire, and canal boats can only be hired for fixed length holidays. Hires usually start and finish around the same time depending on which holiday you pick - check when booking. Boats are normally available for a week with a start and finish day of Thursday or a shorter break. A weekend short break is 3 nights, usually from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, with a midweek short break of 4 nights, usually from Sunday afternoon to Thursday morning. Weeks can be combined or a short break added to make longer holidays. PLEASE NOTE: NO SHAORT BREAKS CAN BE TAKEN IN 2021.
Is there a minimum age?
Hirers must be over 21.
Single sex parties We do allow single sex parties but only under certain conditions. We may require an individual Security Deposit refundable on satisfactory return of the boat.
Is any boating experience needed?
Most boats are easy to handle, with one lever controlling speed and forward or reverse direction. Tuition will be given at the start of the holiday so no previous boating experience is necessary for the boat. You will also be shown how to take the boat through a lock. Of course, the longer or bigger the boat the more precise the driving needed but Vita is a great size for the River Wey and its locks and bridges.
Is a boating licence needed?
You do not need a licence or certificate to steer a boat for up to 12 people, the maximum canal boat size.
What does the boat hire charge include ?
All the water, waste and normal fuel use is included. All the bedding. All licence fees for the River Wey and navigations are included but NOT the Thames or the Basingstoke Canal.
The hire charge is quoted for the boat with up to its specified maximum number of people.
A full tank of fuel gives a full week's normal cruising time including normal use of central heating. If for some reason you use a great deal of fuel more than what is normally used (around 100 litres) we reserve the right to charge the hirer for the extra diesel used. A compulsory non-refundable Damage Waiver charge of £50.00 is also charged to remove the Damage Excess on the insurance.
The hirer is strongly advised to take out Holiday Cancellation Insurance. Your Personal Insurance may already cover this. Please check.
What restrictions on pets?
We will hire out Vita to people who want to take their dog, but we ask hirers to ensure they never allow wet dogs on the furnishings or beds. If the dog is really used to jumping on the sofa for a cuddle we ask that you bring a clean blanket for them and/or a dog bed. There may be an additional charge to cover cleaning if the boat is left dirty or smells like a wet chicken!. The next hirer could easily cancel if they are sensitive to pets you see.
Where can we cruise?
The River Wey and Navigations are extensive enough to entertain a good week's cruising. You can travel the adjacent and seldom travelled Basingstoke Canal too – but you must book this in with the canal authorities as there are water use restrictions at their locks. Talk to us beforehand if you plan to use this canal.
Ultimately, there are thousands of miles of rivers and canals in the UK, so you can take the boat anywhere within your time constraints and so long as it is not tidal waters. You can reach as far as Pocklington in North Yorkshire if you want to!
The River Wey connects with the Thames for which you need an additional licence. Contact us before if you plan to cruise the Thames.
Can we fish on any rivers?
In Scotland and Ireland, you can usually fish at any time. In England and Wales, any time except for the 'closed season' - mid March to mid June - and you will need an Environmental Agency licence. Also you will need to check with the National Trust who manages the river. Licences are available from Post Offices and should be obtained in advance of your holiday. They are not expensive. No live bait is permitted on board Vita.
Where do we stop overnight?
Mooring along canal towpaths is free, but be careful not to restrict access to locks or bridges. Mooring spots near popular pubs and eating places can get busy at peak times. You can also tie up at private or local authority marinas, quays and harbours, where a small charge is usually made. The canal guides also show mooring places.
Can we walk or cycle along the towpaths?
Many towpaths have been upgraded to be good quality walking or cycling routes. We allow folding bikes or kids bikes on the bow (front of the boat area) so long as they don't prevent access or overhang the boat sides. But you would lose the lovely sitting spot at the front! Brompton style bikes may well fit inside the boat, if you don't mind losing internal space.
Can I charge my mobile phone, laptops etc?
Yes, you can charge anything like that with normal sockets provided on the boat. You will need to bring your own chargers though.
Can I bring my electrical appliances?
Vita has 'household' power sockets just like a house. They run through an inverter which can supply about 1kw at any one time so long as the engine is running. , But large power drain appliances like hair straighteners or powerful hair driers won't work and may damage the electrics on the boat. However there is a compact hair-dryer on board which is fine to use so long as the engine is running while it's being used or is hooked-up to the mains with the shore cable provided.
There are only a few places on the river that do hook-ups, such as the marinas. Please check when booking.
What are the pick up times?
Pick up times can vary from booking to booking so please do check the web-site.