Starting location?

Our boats are based at Heyford Wharf, Oxfordshire on the South Oxford Canal and will need to be returned here at the end of your hire, unless otherwise agreed at the time of booking.

What additional costs will I have?

  • Diesel for heating and cruising: current cost (Autumn 2020) around £1/ltr – assume 70ltrs/ week if cruising 8hrs/day – a bit more in cooler months if diesel heating on.
  • Gas for cooking £35/13kg cylinder – which may last for up to 8 weeks. Logs or solid fuel for the multifuel stove range.
  • Toilet Chemical – each loo cassette needs scented chemical fluid adding once it has been emptied and cleaned – available at most boatyards. Typically £10 for a month’s supply.
  • Extra Licences: some rivers are not covered by the standard CRT licence:  an extra licence is required e.g Rivers Avon, Nene, Thames and Wey.

How can I get my mail?

Post Offices offer poste restante. If you know your route, check on the internet for a post office and arrange to have your mail forwarded. Alternatively some boatyards will hold mail for you – but please ask first!

What if something goes wrong with the boat?

This is unlikely but if it does simply call us and we will arrange everything.

Will the boat be warm in winter?

Boats have a relatively small internal space therefore heat up very quickly, they also get cold quickly so in winter the multifuel-stove in the lounge is usually on. There is also an diesel central heating system which runs off the with radiators distributing the heat throughout the boat.

How do I get hot water?

Boats have a ‘calorifier’ which utilises heat from the running engine and from the heating system to heat the hot water supply (just like an immersion tank at home). Lots of hot water is available if you boat every day.

How do I empty the toilet waste?

The boats each have a modern electric flush cassette toilet (like modern caravans/RVs), together with a spare cassette. These are emptied (usually for free) by yourself at one of the regularly spaced facilities blocks along the canal system.

What about mooring up?

On most canals you can moor anywhere along the towpath as long as there is not signage to the contrary. This can be from a few hours right up to a maximum of two weeks before moving on.You should also comply with Canal & River Trust (CRT) or other navigation authority regulations and moor according to the signage on the towpath/bank. Marinas and boatyards frequently offer short term moorings with facilities. If you wish to hire for the winter but don’t want to move very far CRT offer winter moorings around the system which can be acquired but it would be at your sole extra expense. For more information click here to go to their website.

Can I use the boat as a static live-aboard?

Our boats are designed to be as holiday vessels for bona fide long term continuous cruising to enable you to enjoy the waterways. We do not offer long term static live-aboard rental in one area unless you can provide us with a written mooring agreement (from the mooring’s owner) prior to booking.

We regret that we do not accept any hirer who is or is expecting to be on housing benefit as the boat is not a permanent address.

Can I hire the boat just for myself?

A minimum of two able-bodied persons over 18 are required to be aboard our boats when cruising. We do not hire to single occupants due to insurance requirements, nor is any single-handed boating allowed,

How do I get power for lights and electrical appliances?

Running the engine charges the leisure batteries (there are three) which run the 12v LED lighting system, central heating, and fridge. Solar panels on the roof also provide charge to the batteries. We recommend the engine is run for a minimum 3hrs/day to ensure the batteries remain fully charged – more hours per day in the winter when the solar panels are less effective. USB points are available to connect/charge phones/laptops etc. For larger 240v appliances (e.g. washing machine) an ‘inverter’ provides power. Any electrical appliance producing heat or cold is power hungry and will deplete battery resources. Running the engine whilst using these appliances helps maintain battery power.

Can I get a reasonable mobile signal and internet access?

Yes, but it is not guaranteed in every location! There will be ‘dead’ spots where the canal is too low. A USB flash drive or Dongle with a long enough lead to go out of the window helps (but ensure you protect the wire from the weather). Please don’t expect fast broadband speeds but tethering is an option – we can provide more details from previous hirers experiences upon request.

How many people can I fit on board?

Our boats are insured for a maximum of 4 people staying aboard/ sleeping at any given time. Please note that they are designed for 2 people in the fixed double bedroom: the double dinette or fold-out-beds are only suitable for occasional guests because, when folded out, they occupy the entire lounge or dinette.

Are pets allowed?

The Squire and The Marquess are pet-free boats. We will accept certain pets on board The Laird, The Earl and The Count, dependant on the time of year, but you must advise us of any proposed pets before making your booking. We reserve the right to decline to accept a pet on the boat at our discretion. Please note that any damage or wear and tear caused by pets will be deducted from your security deposit and may delay its return whilst cleaning/repairs are completed/ costed. It is your responsibility to ensure that the boat is returned in the same immaculate condition in which it was first hired to you.

View our full Terms and Conditions