FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where do I pick up my boat?

Devizes Wharf SN10 1EB. Follow brown tourist signs in Devizes to the “Wharf Centre” Long stay carpark. We are moored behind the Wharf Theatre.

Customers arrive at the wharf

Devizes Wharf from Couch Lane Bridge

Where can I boat to?

We hire all our boats eastwards from Devizes towards and through  the Vale of Pewsey and Kennet Valley as far as Newbury. We do not allow our boats to cruise westwards down the Caen Hill Locks. See our Route Options page for route details. Dayhire will reach All Cannings or Honey Street , Weekend Breaks will reach Wootton Rivers or Crofton Top Lock, Midweek Breaks will reach Bedwyn or Hungerford, and a week’s hire will reach Hungerford or Newbury. Please note that the first named place is our recommended limit of cruising for a relaxing time afloat, the last named place will involve longer hours of boating which uses more fuel and leaves less time to relax and visit places along the way.

The maximum speed on the canal is 4 mph (a brisk walking pace), but in practice, you travel at a speed that does not create a breaking wash i.e. waves against the banks. You should slow down to tick-over speed when passing moored boats. If you allow an average speed of 3 mph then add 15 minutes for each lock and swing bridge. You can thus calculate how far you can travel.

Where should I park my car?

Once you’ve unloaded your belongings onto the boat you have three options:-

FREE on-street parking available near the wharf. Obviously this is entirely at your own risk, but we will direct you from the wharf.

PUBLIC ‘Pay & Display’ parking adjacent to the Wharf (behind the police offices). £6 per day – and/or hourly charges. This is convenient as it is close to the boats and has the advantage of being directly behind Devizes Police Station!

RESERVED parking spaces at the nearby Devizes Rugby Club, a short walk (0.5mile, 10 minutes) away. Pre-bookable with us only at £10/Weekend Break. £15/Mid Week Break or £30/per Week

What do you supply on the boat?

You should have all that you will need, from diesel and gas, to a well equipped kitchen with fridge, gas cooker, pots & pans, tea pot and cafetière, cutlery, crockery and glasses. A cleaning kit is also supplied, along with a handsoap and toilet roll.  A first aid kit and is also kept on board.

What do I need to bring?

Here are some useful suggestions:

  • We recommend that you pack your belongings in soft bags/holdalls, as hard suitcases are often hard to store out of the way. However, many people put their bags back in their car once unpacked.
  • Bedding / Sleeping Bags; Sheets and pillow cases + extra pillows if you need one (we will supply one per person with protector)
  • Towels (we provide tea towels and dishwashing kit).
  • Clothes…. casual, some warm, and mostly comfortable depending on the time of year. The boats have plenty of storage space but hanging space is limited. Just think about what you would normally wear when in a pub restaurant along your route AND that you are on an outdoor holiday.
  • We suggest waterproofs (coat and possibly trousers), an umbrella or rain hat, a sun hat and layers of clothing to cope with all weathers so that your holiday isn’t spoilt by being under-prepared.
  • Footwear: Walking boots or wellies and non slip, comfy shoes and slippers for indoors (the tow-path can become very muddy and we’d like you to have comfy cosy feet onboard!).
  • Insect repellent and Sun cream: the sun is stronger when you are on the water.
  • Torches (you go to the pub in daylight but tend to come back in dark)
  • Board games and cards: canal holidays are a great way for families to spend time together. Why not forget the telly and tablets – play games instead.
  • Books and magazines: canals are excellent places to relax with a good book.
  • DVDs and CDs: you may like to bring a few films to watch on the TV
  • If you really want to get into the “glamping vibe”, then how about solar fairy lights? Be aware it gets pretty dark at night with no street lighting along the canal.  Looks good too!

Supplies for your canal holiday

  • Because your route is very rural, there are very few canal side shops. We strongly recommend that you set off well stocked.
  • You can bring your supplies with you, or use the local supermarkets nearby in Devizes. Alternatively we are happy for you to book an online delivery to Devizes Wharf , but please ensure the delivery is between 2 – 4pm, (you DO need to be there to receive it).
  • Many people make good use of the great pubs along or near the canal (see our Useful Information Pages in the Hirers Manual.) All the kitchens on our narrowboats have ample storage, with a standard under counter fridge-freezer. We also feature a large under-seat store in the Dinette of our 4-6 berth boats, which is ideal for cool goods (e.g. fruit and veg, beer, wine, etc.).
  • Disposable barbecues are useful; there are lots of places to have a BBQ or Picnic, just make sure it is not used on the boat and that you take away any rubbish. (We do not allow gas powered barbeques onto the boats).

How do I dry my clothes?

All boats feature an airing cupboard which is warm when the boat engine or central heating are running. (Please don’t put your chocolate or beer in here!).

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. Onboard, space is restricted, so we do not recommend that you bring a large travel cot, unless you intend it to occupy one of the 2ft wide berths. Doors can be locked at front and back to keep very young children safe indoors. Reins are a good buy to stop small people who are feeding ducks from falling in and a buggy is very useful at locks. We do not supply cot sides or travel cots.

Can we bring our Dogs?

Yes of course, and your first pet is completely free.  In fact, this holiday is perfect for your doggie friends.  If you need to bring more than one, then we charge an additional £25.  Please also bear in mind you may need to bring something for your pet to sleep on and that we would expect the boat to be left just as clean as when you boarded. We regret that we MUST charge for any extra work involved in clearing up pet mess, or any damage.

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 holiday 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: onboard there are both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. 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 will take up to one hour and the boating tuition, depending on previous boating experience, may take a further ½ hour, 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 short film and you will receive our specially created Hirer’s Manual.

What Happens if we have any Problems?

Please refer to the Hirers Manual and call us if you are still in a pickle.  We will do all we can to help you and the emergency phone is manned 24 hours a day.

Where can we/should we moor the boat?

You can moor anywhere along the towpath unless signs tell you otherwise. You cannot moor next to a lock, swing bridge, winding hole or a water point.  Some places e.g. The Bridge Inn at Horton, have their own offside moorings, but generally you should ask before you moor overnight at these places.

Fuel, Gas and Water?

Dayhire includes all fuel & gas used – there are no extras.

Holiday hire: you will have full diesel and water tanks, empty toilet tanks and plenty of cooking gas when you join the boat. You will need to top-up with fresh water daily (the tank holds in excess of 140 gallons). This is covered in the handover.  You may refill with Diesel as you wish whilst cruising: we will measure any fuel required to top up on your return and charge £1/ litre used including all taxes/VAT, which will be deducted from your fuel/security deposit before we refund the balance.

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.  Only the hirer may steer the boat unsupervised.  All other members of the crew including children must be under the supervision of the hirer.

What equipment is onboard?

Our boats have central heating, cooker, fridge, toilet, shower, Freeview TV/DVD /Radio/CD player and 240volt sockets (so bring your phone/tablet/laptop charger) – see below. Please be respectful of your neighbours if using audio equipment; sound travels across water very effectively…

Are you 240V mains?

Yes we are and you can plug-in to the standard British three pin or USB sockets during the day.  However, at night, the boats domestic battery could go flat with appliances left on charge overnight.  You can bring your own low wattage electronic equipment, e.g. laptops/tablets/phones, but please be aware of a 400W maximum power limit, which means that things like kettles, hair-dryers and microwaves will not work on the boat.  Unfortunately, we don’t have the capacity to charge health dependency appliances (e.g. Breathing Machines) onboard for the above reasons.

Sporting equipment:

Fishing rods are welcome, however, you must have a valid rod licence, and keep clear of other boats. Live bait must not be brought onto or used from the boat!

Bikes are welcome but will need to be stored on the roof so please bring a protective blanket for the roof and any locks for security purposes.  We recommend a maximum of 4 bikes.

Hire Bikes We now hire bikes at a rate of £25 per bike per break, or £40 per bike for a week or more, with your boat for the break. The bikes are standard unisex 15 gear mountain bikes with a 26” wheel. A limited supply of helmet sizes is also available for you to try on when you arrive if you require them, as is a pump, puncture kit, protective blanket for the boat roof, and security lock. Please be advised that we do not insure the bikes (check your travel insurance covers you for biking!), which is why we ask for a refundable cash deposit of £100 per bike on arrival. This is refunded, less the hire fee, on return of each bike puncture free and otherwise undamaged. Punctures are charged at £20 each covering both the repair regardless of whether a new inner tube is needed and the labour involved.

Canoes are great fun on the canal and can also be carried on the roof (maximum 2 please).  Please note you should have an appropriate BCU Licence to use the canoes on the canal. Once again please bring a protective blanket and locks for security purposes.  Canoes must NOT be towed by the narrowboat nor share any locks with powered boats.

Devizes to Westminster canoe race. The famous annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race starts from Devizes Wharf every Good Friday and Easter Saturday. It is very busy on these dates but is an amazing atmosphere and spectacle! Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect your boating holiday, other than our operating a special loading and unloading procedure with a courtesy shuttle to the Rugby Club car park if you are returning on Good Friday, to get your luggage back to your car(s).

 

Got another question: please just ask!