AS SOON AS YOU CAN…

1. Take out personal travel insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is an important part of every holiday and we strongly recommend that you take out adequate cover, preferably from the moment of booking to ensure cancellation is covered. Cover should be obtained whether holidaying abroad or at home. Nearly all insurers have stopped insuring for coronavirus-related claims in general (i.e. cancellation, repatriation, etc), although some are still offering cover for coronavirus-related emergency medical treatment abroad. It might pay to shop around if you want this additional peace of mind,

2. Complete a Guest Information Form

Guest Information Form

MANADATORY ACTION

There’s some important information about you and you crew that we must know before you arrive. This allows us to prepare your boat and ensures you a safe, smooth and timely check-in, especially important right now as we observe strict social distancing measures at our bases. It is vital this online form is completed at least 72 hours before your departure. This is a mandatory requirement and you will not be allowed to board your boat if not completed.

 

Please note: you must nominate a Captain and 2nd-in-charge and indicate on the form who you have chosen. These people will be in charge of your boat while cruising and responsible for the safety of everyone on board.

 

Complete a Guest Information Form NOW

3. Plan your travel to base

Travel to base

Select your start base from our list of bases for more information about:

  • Our NEW base opening times
  • Your base address and contact details
  • Directions & travel advice
  • Parking
  • Local taxi transfers information (if arriving by plane or train)
  • Car transfers (for those doing a one-way cruise)
  • Facilities at your base and close by

Select your start base


4. Add optional holiday extras + FIX THE PRICE OF FUEL

Optional extras

We offer a range of optional extras to make your holiday more comfortable, easy and enjoyable. Most extras can be purchased at the base, although to reduce the risk of infection, only card payments can be accepted. However, to guarantee availability and to take advantage of reduced rates, we advise you pre-book them before you travel.

 

Extras include bike hire, groceries, gas barbecues, stand-up paddleboards, early boarding and late check-out. Plus, with one of our new Extras Bundles, you can fix the price of fuel by pre-paying your engine hours.

 

Find out more about all our optional holiday extras and bundles


5. Pay your balance

Pay your balance

You, or any member of your party, can make part payments, or pay your balance in full at any time before your balance is due. Simply visit our fast and convenient payment portal. You will need your booking reference, lead bookers name, your departure date and a valid means of payment.

 

If you would rather pay with one of our sales team instead, then please don’t hesitate to call us during office hours.

 

Pay online now

 


  

Le Boat

 

IN THE WEEK BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

6. Make sure you're Covid compliant

Covid compliant

It is your responsibility to check and conform to any relevant guidance and measures that are in force to help keep you, our other customers and our team safe. These may include government travel restrictions that prevent you and your party from being able to go on your original cruise as planned.

 

If you are travelling internationally, please ensure you keep checking the latest government travel advice to confirm there are no specific travel restrictions or self-isolation requirements which are confirmed to be in place on the date of your departure. 

 

Regardless of where you are travelling from, you should also keep checking the latest local advice and guidelines for the country you are cruising in. There may be requirements you need to prepare for or restrictions that prevent you and your party from going on your cruise together. Le Boat has also implemented special measures and procedures in accordance with government guidelines and it is your responsibility to familiarise yourself the measures that our outlined in our Covid Safety Charter and ensure you prepare and act accordingly.

 

If you are affected by any Covid19-related restrictions and you are unable go on you cruise as booked, don't worry as our Go Boating with Confidence Policy will apply. Please contact us so that we can discuss alternative options with you.

 

7. Watch our safety video

Watch safety video

MANDATORY ACTION

We take your safety very seriously and ALL members of your party must watch our safety video.

 

Due to social distancing measures, we are no longer able to gather large groups to watch this video at our bases, so it is compulsory that everyone watches the video before you arrive, otherwise you will not be able to board your boat.

 

You will be asked to sign to confirm this as part of you pre-departure briefing. We thank you in advance for your understanding and help.

Watch our Safety Video NOW

8. Our base team will call you

Pre-departure Call

We can help to prevent the spread of coronavirus by reducing the time you need to spend in reception. As such, our base team will call you 48-72hrs prior to your departure so that they can:

 

  • discuss and confirm your planned arrival time with you – where possible we will try to stagger arrivals in order to reduce the amount of guests on site at any one time and make it easier for everyone to observe social distancing.
  • obtain any missing details about you and your party.
  • take a pre-authorisation from your credit card over the phone for your security deposit and a payment for your engine hours deposit. See compulsory costs for more details.
  • answer any final questions you might have.

9. Join our virtual Area & Navigation Briefing

Virtual briefing

To reduce the amount of time our guests spend in reception and in public areas, we’re conducting Virtual Area & Navigation Briefings via video conference in all regions except Germany, Italy and Canada.  The briefing will take place in the days prior to your departure and you will be given details on how to join via an email from our base team or during your pre-departure call (see section 8)

 

>More details about our Area & Navigation Briefings

 

Germany & Italy:  We have large enough indoor spaces where group briefings can be conducted while observing social distancing guidelines, so area briefings will continue to be conducted at the base in these regions. This is especially useful in Germany where additional tuition is required to comply with local licencing requirements. See the 'Learn more about boating'' tab for more details about German licencing requirements.


10. Start packing

What to pack

Things to take with you:

  • Face masks – government advice about wearing face masks varies by country, and local advice may require you to wear one while in our reception areas. Shops and eateries may impose their own stipulations as well and so you may wish to bring a face mask for everyone in your group. At the very least though, your nominated Captain and 2nd-in-charge will be required to wear a mask during pre-departure briefing where social distancing measure will be difficult to maintain.
  • Hand sanitiser – for when you’re out and about
  • Bedding is provided, but if you are driving to base, you are welcome to bring your own bedding if you would prefer.
  • Credit/debit cards - to make any payments required at base. To reduce the risk of infection, only card payments can be accepted. (Visa or Mastercard please.)
  • Soft bags which can fold away are much better than suitcases as boats have limited storage space
  • Non-slip rubber-soled shoes
  • Leather or gardening gloves are useful when holding the ropes in the locks. (Available to purchase at the base)
  • Binoculars for bird and wildlife watching
  • A flashlight* for walking along towpaths at night
  • Comfortable clothes to suit all weather conditions
  • Suncream, sun hats** and sunglasses are essential - you can burn easily by the water
  • Large beach towels for sunbathing
  • Toilet paper and toiletries
  • Worktop and dish cleaning products*
  • Food, snacks and drinks*

*If you can't or don't want to bring your own provisions, we offer 2 kinds of grocery packs, as well as an Eco-Pack with ecological cleaning & washing product. You can also rent a LED lantern.

Visit Holiday Extras for more details.

**Le Boat caps are available to purchase at the base

 

 

Already on board

What's already on board:

  • Hand soap – you should wash your hands regularly
  • Linen – washed at high temperature and left on board your boat. Beds will not be made to reduce contact by our team.
  • Duvets and pillows
  • Small bathroom towels and tea towels (not beach towels) – washed at high temperature, sealed in plastic bags and left on board
  • Fridge (with a small freezer compartment for ice), burners and gas oven
  • Kitchen utensils, cutlery, pots and pans.
  • Electronics and power: All boats have a 12 volt power sockets (as you would use in a car) which can be used to plug in your adapter lead for a mobile phone or any other low power equipment. Some models also have 110/210V/220V plug sockets (you will need a plug adaptor suitable for the country you are visiting). On most boats, these sockets only provide power when cruising or when 'hooked-up' to a shore power supply. Our new Horizon boats also have USB sockets in the saloon and all cabins.

Download a detailed inventory of equipment supplied on all of our boats

Check out the equipment and feature specific to your boat model


11. Is anyone displaying symptoms?

Displaying symptoms?

For the safety of our customers and base team, no member of your party should travel to our base if they are displaying symptoms of coronavirus. For more on this and for details about our flexible rebooking terms, which would apply in these circumstances, visit our Coronavirus FAQs.


  

Le Boat

 

MORE INFORMATION

Find out more about what to expect when you arrive at our base, as well as what happens when you return your boat. >Your arrival

Find out what we’re doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus at our bases. > Covid Safety Charter

More questions? We have the answers >Our FAQs

  

Le Boat

 


Plan your itinerary

Some people like to plan in advance, others like to see what takes their fancy when they get there. Either way, to make the most of your holiday, you may find the following planning tips useful…

Check out our region guide

We've produced a region guide that you can download for each of our cruising areas to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway. Use it to help you plan your time. These guides are also provided on board.

 Check our guide for cruising times

Approximate cruising times between stops can be found in our region guides.

 

Take a look at our navigation restrictions page to keep up to date with the cruising conditions across all of our regions.

 Take your time and embrace the world around you

Don’t take on too much. An average of three to four hours of cruising time each day is a nice pace. Any more than this and you’ll begin to tire and you might miss out on all there is to do and see. Of course you still need to ensure you arrive at your end base on time!

 Don't rush your trip - allow yourself to relax

Build plenty of ‘wiggle’ room into your plan. Life on the water is slow-paced and you may be unexpectedly held up at locks. Or you may want to stay a little longer in a particular place.

 Be sure of lock opening hours

Find out what time locks are open and be mindful that they close over lunch in some regions. As such, you may want to be moored up during these times or in a stretch that has no locks. In some regions locks close on public holidays or have reduced hours outside of peak season. Hours of operation and closure days are listed in our region guides.

 Call ahead to be sure

Call ahead to check if attractions are open, or to make restaurant reservations. However, be prepared to alter your plans - your progress along the waterway can sometimes take longer than expected.

 Plan ahead for check in and check out times

Remember to allow enough time to get to the end base you’ve booked. Unless you have booked a late check out, you need to be back by 9am. In some regions locks don’t open until this time, so make sure there are none left to pass through by the time they close the previous day.

 

If you do like to plan ahead – download our holiday planner to help you organise your time.

  

Le Boat

 

Discover your boating region

Region guides

We have produced handy Region Guide for each of our boating regions, to help you decide where you’ll like to stop and visit during your holiday. They offer a summary of each town/village we recommend is worth stopping for, as well as information about local facilities/amenities, markets and recommended restaurants. Each guide also shows how long it will take you to cruise between each stop, the number of locks you’ll encounter, as well as information on locks, moorings and facilities specific to each region. A copy of the guide will be given to you at the base, but why not download a pdf copy now and start planning. Alternatively, you could visit the relevant webpage on this website.


  

Le Boat

 

Chart your course

Chart your course

As well as our handy region guides, navigational charts/maps are also provided on board, which you should consult at all times to ensure you avoid or prepare for upcoming hazards such as weirs, shallow water, locks and bridges. They offer very detailed information about the waterway and some give more information about the towns and villages’ en-route and the facilities on offer at each (such as moorings, water, marinas, shops, etc). If you would like this level of detail to help you plan your holiday, maps for most of our regions can be purchased direct from the suppliers online.

  

Le Boat

 

Discover exclusive local deals from our partners

Discover our local partner deals

We've partnered up with some of the best local businesses from the towns and villages along our waterways to help you get the most out of your Le Boat holiday.

 

With special discounts on everything from restaurants and vineyards to local museums and water sports, there's something for everyone. These exclusive offers are only available for Le Boat customers, so don't miss out! 

 

We have deals for you to discover on the Rideau Canal, and France


No experience required

No experience necessary

You don't need any previous boating experience to be the captain of your own boat on a boating holiday. On arrival, we’ll give you an in-depth briefing on the specifics of your boat so you can cruise and live aboard with confidence and in comfort. However, if you would like to get a head start, the following resources will show you everything you need to know about handling a boat and staying safe on the waterways. Reviewing this before your holiday will aid your understanding of what you are told during the pre-departure briefing and will help you to become confident with the boat and the waterway more quickly.


Licences & permits

A boating licence or permit is not required in nearly all our cruising regions. In France, after your pre-departure briefing you will be given a temporary permit for the duration of your holiday. The only region where a licence is required is Germany – although there are licence-free areas.

Licensed areas: certain cruising areas in Germany require an International Certificate for Operator of Pleasure Craft (also known as an ICC or an International Certificate of Competence), which is issued in UNECE member States in accordance with Resolution No. 40. Without this licence you won’t be able to cruise on these waterways. If your licence does not reference ‘Resolution No. 40 of the UNECE Working Party on Inland Water Transport’ – we suggest you send it to our sales team prior to booking so it can be validated.

 

Unlicensed areas: If you don’t have a licence and wish to cruise in licence-free area of Germany (which includes the waterways around Jabel, Marina Wolfsbruch and the short stretch of waterway between our base in Potsdam and the town of Werder), our base teams are required to provide additional tuition prior to your departure. This means your pre-departure briefing will take two hours in total and you must arrive at the base in time for this tuition which begins at 2pm (although we suggest you arrive 60 minutes earlier to complete checkin beforehand). Even after this tuition, you will still not be allowed to cruise in licensed areas.

 

If you have a licence this additional tuition is not required, your pre-departure briefing will take the usual 1hr and you may arrive any time between 2pm and 5pm (unless you have booked an early check-in).


Handling your boat and navigating the waterway

Our useful boat handling and navigation pdf will give you a good overview of how to handle your boat, including passing, overtaking, mooring, going through locks and understanding signs on the waterway. The following videos will also help. All of this information will be given to you during your pre-departure briefing and is available on board inside the Boat and Navigation Manual, but reviewing before your holiday will aid your understanding and will help you to become confident with the boat and the waterway more quickly.

Learn how to drive a boat. This video shows you all essential checks before your depart on your boating adventure.

Learn how to drive a boat. This video shows you how to use navigational maps, ropes and knots.

It's time to start your boating holiday. This video will give you information about steering and important maneuvers on the water.

Don't be afraid of locks. In this video, we give you an overview of the different lock types and how to best navigate them.

This video gives you an overview of the rules and regulations for navigating on inland waterways. 

We show you how to moor your canal boat securely in different scenarios you might encounter on your boating holidays.

Responsible cruising on the inland waterways is a must. We show you what to watch out for.


Staying safe

We want you and your crew to have a safe and enjoyable holiday so please read and abide by our safety guidelines to reduce the risk of accidents and injury while on board. The guidelines will be given to you at base, but it is a good idea to read these at home, before you holiday, to ensure you have a good understanding by the time you arrive. You are required to nominate a captain and a 2nd-in-charge’ who will be responsible for the safety of the crew and can take charge in case of an emergency. These persons must receive a briefing session by one of our base technicians who will show them how to safely control and navigate the boat. Their signatures are required on the pre-departure paperwork to confirm this instruction has been given and understood.

Staying safe - no alcohol

Boating under the influence of drink or drugs is dangerous, significantly increases the likelihood of serious accidents and is not permitted by law. Even once you have safely moored, drink in moderation to avoid accidents when getting on & off and moving about the boat.

Wear life jackets

We strongly advise all passengers to wear life jackets while on deck, particularly when inside locks (compulsory in some locks/regions) and when mooring where the risk of accidents is greater. Children and non swimmers are also at greater risk.

Sécurité à bord 3

When driving, be alert and pay attention at all times. Stay within marked channels and always refer to your waterways map to identify navigational hazards (weirs, shallows, strong currents, swimming areas, bridges, tunnels and locks) and pass them SLOWLY and with caution. Always obey local speed restrictions.