Narrowboat Hire – Terms & Conditions

Any contract to hire a narrowboat incorporates Conditions 1 – 6 below and is between Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd and you as the hirer. The contract does not take effect until written confirmation of your booking is sent to you. This contract is made in England and is governed by English Law.

1. Reservations

Quality Narrowboat Holidays from Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd.
Our narrowboats provide luxury canal boat hire.
Please note that we do not accept single sex bookings of more than 2 without prior approval.

Initial payment
The confirmation of a narrowboat booking will be given once the fully completed booking form along with a deposit of 20% of the total price has been received by Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd. The hirer will then be responsible for paying the full balance at least 6 weeks prior to the start date of their narrowboat holiday. We accept payments by card or bank transfer, please be aware we do not accept credit card payments over £3000 due to the card provider charges.

Damage waiver payment
This compulsory scheme ensures that for a single £60, non-refundable premium you will be protected from any liability for damage/loss or accident to your boat or its inventory during your holiday period. The premium will be shown on your booking confirmation along with the final balance of hire.

Special exclusions to Damage Waiver
Speeding (reported or witnessed)
Damage to the boat and/or any other boat or structure of the waterway due to false information being given during booking and/or handover with regard to previous level of narrowboating experience
Malicious, negligent or intentional damage to the boat, its equipment, the waterway, other boats or structures
Late return of narrow boat, after 8.30am (see below)
Return of narrow boat in unclean condition
Failure to carry out daily checks as instructed during the handover process
In the event of any of the above being reported, we shall claim the full cost of repairs, replacement or compensation.

Hire Period – Collection and Return of narrow boat
The hire period commences at 3.00pm (unless a 1pm early boarding time has been paid for) on Saturday and ends at 8.30am on the following Saturday. Please note, that this is boarding time, a member of staff will join you as soon as possible to handover the boat (normally 1.30pm for early cruising or 3.30pm for standard cruising time). We may not always be able to offer early boarding if we are short of staff, we’ll contact you beforehand and offer a refund if this is the case.

Failure to return the narrow boat by this time will result in a charge of £30.00 per half hour overdue. The boats must be returned in a clean condition i.e. all bins emptied, all pots, pans and crockery cleaned and put away, all surfaces and carpets cleaned and vacuumed.

Aqua Narrowboats strongly recommends that clients purchase suitable insurance to cover cancellation charges for circumstances beyond the client’s control, such as, but not limited to, medical expenses arising whilst on holiday, loss of luggage or money and personal liability, jury duty, incarceration, change in personal or employment circumstances, military service, death or illness (including Covid-19**), shielding / isolation, family emergencies and travel delays. Insurance should be taken out at the time of the holiday booking. If a client chooses not to purchase travel insurance, then the client accepts responsibility for any loss they may incur due to their cancellation.

You can cancel your holiday at any time, however the following charges will be incurred:

Number of weeks before your hire boat holiday Cancellation Charge
More than 6 weeks: Full deposit as paid (20% of your narrowboat hire payment)
Less than 6 weeks: 100% of your narrowboat hire payment. You will be refunded damage waiver fee, fuel and gas charge and optional extras such as pet fees.

2. Conditions of Use

Free tuition will be given by a member of the Company to the hirer who will ensure that the narrow boat is in good working order. Where the hirer is not familiar with the working locks, they will be taken through the first lock. Hirers will be provided with a link to a virtual handover at the point of booking. All hirers will need to watch this video in full and confirm that they have watched it. On arrival the hirer will be asked to watch this video again. The hirer will have the opportunity to ask any further questions on the handover day and discuss any concerns if they have any.

Bookings from persons under the age of 21 cannot be accepted. No person under the age of 18 may control the narrow boat, unless under the direct supervision of a responsible adult member of the party.

Cycles/ Canoes
Unfortunately, due to the high value of our narrow boat and its’ equipment, we are unable to allow cycles or canoes on board. However, this is at the Company’s discretion and may be admitted under certain circumstances.

We allow pets on board most of our boats for an additional charge of £50 for one pet or £70 for two pets. All pets must be kept off beds, seating and soft furnishings. We ask that owners bring with them blankets/bedding for their pets to sleep on. Pets are not allowed on Aqua Te Ora.

Smoking is not permitted on board the boats.

Toilet Tank Pump Out
The boat’s toilet tank will be provided empty at the start of your holiday. Should the tank become full before the end of the holiday the hirer is responsible for the cost to empty the tank. The boat can be returned with a full tank without charge. The toilet must not be used once the tank is full – any damage caused by its continued use once the tank is full will be charged to the hirer.

Fishing may be carried out from the foredeck of the boat with normal licensing applying (the hirer is requested to provide evidence of licenses before commencing their cruise.) Live fish bait must not be taken inside the boat or stored in the vessels fridge or larder areas.

Cruising Limits
The boat may be taken on canals. Experienced hirers will need to agree with the Company any cruising on rivers, prior to the start of their holiday. Disregard of this hiring condition leaves the hirer responsible for all damages, recovery and third party claims not covered by insurance.

3. Safety Rules, Common Sense and Navigation Bye Laws

The hirer agrees to the following:

  • Travel no more than 4 mph
  • Never create a wash that breaks on the bank (even at 4mph this is possible)
  • Slow right down past moored boats
  • No cruising between sunset and sunrise
  • No smoking inside the boat
  • Only carry those named on the Reservation Form
  • Do not carry portable heaters, toasters and other electrical appliances not agreed by the Company, inflammable substances or other hazardous items.
  • Comply with CRT/Environment Agency bye-laws: these specifically include leaving lock paddles in the correct position, and being considerate to other waterway users and property
  • Although we want you to enjoy yourselves may we draw attention to the fact it is illegal to be drunk in charge of any vessel on British Waterways.

4. Company Regulations

  • We reserve the right to refuse to hand over a narrow boat to any person who, in our opinion, is not suitable to take charge of the vessel, or has given false information with regard their experience level. In the event of this happening, all payments will be refunded to the proposed hirer unless cancellation is due to false information with regard to their narrowboat experience – in which case the deposit payment will be forfeited. The proposed hirer will then have no further claim against Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd.
  • Please note that we do not take bookings from single sex groups without prior permission before booking, for example hen or stag party.
  • Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd reserve the right to repossess the boat at any time if, in our opinion, the boat is being mishandled, misused illegally or if the crew’s behaviour is considered detrimental to other waterway users. In the event of this happening, no portion of the hire fee will be refunded.

5. Exemptions

The company shall not be liable for matters arising beyond the Company’s reasonable control, or not due to the Company’s negligence or wilful default including without limitation: death or personal injury of hirers, their crew and passengers; loss or damage to property; non-fulfilment or interruption of the reservation; delays; breakdowns; mechanical problems; defects; damage; restrictions on cruising; obstructions; repairs to waterways; non-availability of routes; storms, floods, drought, ice shortage of water and other weather conditions; non-availability of fuel; or in respect of any loss, damage, expense, injury or claim.

Hirers are recommended to take out personal insurance cover against injury/ loss of belongings.

Delays and Restriction
No liability can be accepted by the company for any delays or non-completion of planned cruising caused by restrictions, obstructions, or repair to the waterways system or any unforeseen cause. The company reserve the right to restrict the cruising area without prior notice should any unusual or hazardous conditions prevail.

Breakdown and Repairs
We take great care to ensure our boat is serviced at regular intervals and in good working order. In case of breakdown or repairs needed contact the Company immediately where upon appropriate action will be taken. All repairs are the responsibility of the Company and should not be put into the hands of others without our authority.

You must not tow or be allowed to tow any other vessel without the Company’s permission.

The toilet provided on board is a macerator type. Instructions on its use will be provided during the handover. Should Aqua Narrowboats (UK) Ltd need to be called out due to misuse i.e. wipes causing a blockage or continued use of the toilet when gauge is showing full then a callout fee of £60.00 will be charged to the hirer.

If the hirer is involved in an accident the following procedure should take place:

  • Contact the Company immediately giving the following information
  • Full details of the boats involved: index numbers, names and person/ persons involved and name and address of any witnesses.
  • Full details of the accident including time, date, actions and damage caused.
  • Under no circumstances must the hirer admit any liability.

6. Hirer’s Motor Cars, Motorhomes and Property

Free parking is provided for the convenience of our customers (max of 2 cars per boat), but we accept no liability for loss or damage to customers’ vehicles. You are advised not to leave valuables in your vehicles. Motorhomes are not permitted at Barton Turns Marina.