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What about training?

We provide training for all who hire out boats and this is given during handover when we show you through the boat and teach you how to operate and steer. When you book with us we send you our hirers’ manual which is specific to our stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal and our holiday routes from Devizes. We also recommend these excellent publication The Boater’s Handbook  and a film Boater’s Handbook DVD by The Canal and Rivers Trust for additional information. These publications provide excellent information for all canal users, especially if you are hiring a boat for the first time or setting out with a boat on your own.

Where do I pick up my boat?

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

Please do not come to our Burbage Wharf Office address – there are no boats there. We will be at Devizes waiting to welcome you!

Follow this link for our boat location White Horse Boats on Google Maps

Where can I cruise 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, or onto the River Thames. 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 Holiday  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.

STOPPAGES and NAVIGATION RESTRICTIONS: Sometimes things occur and the Canal and Rivers Trust may deem it necessary to carry out emergency repairs on sections of the canal or locks. This may cause interruptions to our normal routes and guide times for cruising. We will do everything possible to ensure that your holiday is still great, although this may mean that you need to take a different route than planned. We will make you aware as soon as possible to help your planning, and keep you updated as things change.

If you would like to cruise for 2 or more weeks please email us to discuss longer holidays with White Horse Boats. If you are considering a longer term hire of a month or more then perhaps Long Term Narrowboat Hire may interest you.

Where should I park my car?

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

PUBLIC ‘Pay & Display’ parking adjacent to the Wharf (behind the Police Station). £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! Note that you will need to pay for this using your mobile/cards if you are paying for more than one day.

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. For directions to the parking, look at our Rugby Club Parking MAP

FREE on-street parking available near the wharf. Obviously this is entirely at your own risk, and we are unable to advise where you might find a space.

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 first aid kit is also kept on board.

What do I need to bring?

Here are some useful suggestions:

  • Bedding / Sleeping Bags. You will need to bring your own bedding/sleeping bags, although each berth has a mattress protector fitted. Bedding & Towels are available to hire as an extra – £40 per double, £25 per single.
  • Towels You will need to bring your own towels. Towel packs are available to buy (large and hand towel) as an extra – see prices when booking. (We provide tea towels and dishwashing kit).
  • Clothes…. casual, some warm, and mostly comfortable depending on the time of year. Each cabin has a small wardrobe with limited hanging space. Just think about what you would normally wear when in a pub restaurant along your route AND that you are on an outdoor holiday.
  • Packing Cases 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.
  • 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, deck/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… and after-sun The sun is stronger when you are on the water.
  • Torches You may go to the pub in daylight but it might be dark when you return.
  • 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!
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!).

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).
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?

HOLIDAY HIRE: 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 do, however, make an extra charge for any work involved in clearing up pet hairs on carpets or beds, mess, or any scratch/chew damage.

DAYHIRE: Yes dogs love the dayboats, up to 4 dogs FREE (more than 4 may restrict space). Bring a dog towel. We do, however, charge for any extra work involved in clearing up pet mess, or any damage. Please do not allow your dogs on the cushioned seating.

What about Insurance?

Our boats are fully insured with public liability of up to £5 Million.  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. Please read our Terms & Cnditions carefully – insurance does NOT cover any damage caused to the sterngear or driveline by ropes falling around the propellor or by the boat being ‘cilled’ in a lock i.e rudder bent/ broken.

Do you take Credit Cards?


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. For dayboats you should expect to spend the first 1/2hr of your hire being trained (no locks so only boating/ mooring training required). For holiday boats handover procedure will take up to 1/2 hour and the boating tuition, depending on previous boating experience, may take a further 1/2 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. For the safety of your party and of other boat users, and for the security and safety of our dayhire vessels, these are now fitted with satellite tracking (GPS) to monitor your position and speed

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, and it is FREE. You cannot moor next to a lock, swing bridge, winding hole or a water point.  You cannot moor on Private Moorings. 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, Water and Pumpout?

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

Holiday hire: you will have a full water tank, 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.  We ask you to refill with diesel when cruising as you pass The Fuel Boat – a genuine working narrowboat that supplies and services most of the boats along this section of the canal – usually located at Honey Street. This is a unique and really fun part of your holiday, and is really simple. Ed and Karen know how much to refill and to charge you for: this is 30 litres for a short break and 70 litres for a week.

If you are cruising for a longer holiday (10 days or more), then you will need to pump-out the waste tanks at your cost, usually once per week. Typically this will cost £20 per toilet. We will explain how and where to do this during your training.

Can someone cruise 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 230/240V mains?

Our holiday boats have 240V onboard: you can plug-in to the standard British three pin or USB sockets during the day.  However, at night, the boat’s domestic battery could go flat with appliances left on charge overnight.  You can bring your own electronic equipment, e.g. laptops/tablets/phones, but please be aware of a 1200W maximum power limit, so please check that your hairdryer is less powerful than this otherwise it will not work! We don’t have the battery capacity to guarantee  health dependency appliances (e.g. Breathing Machines) will remain working overnight: as such we cannot accept any booking where a life-dependant requirement for overnight 240V supply is necessary for the above reasons.

Our dayboats do not have 240V power but do have a 12V USB socket onboard.

What do you mean by super-silent engines?

 Traditionally, engines have been noisy to the steerer/ people on the stern deck because a) the engines were slow revving and ‘thumped’ and b) the exhaust simply had a standard old-style car silencer on them. This has meant that a reasonably quiet conversation on the stern deck was not possible.
By super-silent we mean that there is a ‘hospital silencer’ i.e. a large muffler on the exhaust system which, coupled with a modern higher revving smoother engine, means that when boating there is generally more noise from the wake or wash of the boat at the stern than from the engine and that a perfectly civilised conversation can take place.
Of course no diesel-powered craft will ever be entirely silent but we, and our many satisfied customers, believe that we’ve made the boats as quiet as is sensibly possible.

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.

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!