Do I need previous boating experience?
Driving your boat is straightforward and enjoyable once you've received some simple guidance at the base. If you're not confident about anything, ask the technician to go over it again. Often he'll speak two or three different languages. A driving licence is only required in some parts of Germany and Poland, and may not be needed if you require one for your own home country. Cruising at speeds of around 8-10kph (5-6mph) allows unhurried manoeuvres and gives plenty of time for looking around. You'll soon get used to going through locks and enjoy handling your craft. Detailed navigation guides show where you can moor, shop, take on water or go sightseeing. You can buy these at the base or in advance from our office.
Do I need special insurance?
Your boat is fully insured and you are only responsible for any damage up to the amount of your security deposit. Alternatively, you can opt for the damage waiver scheme. Our staff will advise you of the options. Suitable personal travel insurance cover for party members is recommended.
Are the waterways and locks easy to navigate?
The quiet waterways are largely non-tidal, with only the gentlest of currents, making them extremely easy to navigate. Many locks are operated automatically or by lock-keepers. You’ll enjoy the locks - they are fun and are often a great place to meet fellow travellers.
In France, locks are free and generally open from 8am to 7pm with a one hour break for the lock keeper’s lunch. Locks may be closed on some public holidays such as Easter Day, 1st May, Whit Sunday, 14th July and 1st November. On the Lot and the Charente, locks are operated by the boat crew.
Where can I moor the boat?
Stop when and where you like at a marina or in the open countryside. You can go for a walk or a bicycle ride, visit a church or a chateau, go for a swim or try your hand at fishing. At the base we will tell you how to get a fishing permit and what you might catch.
There are plenty of moorings all along the waterways which are usually free of charge, except in some popular tourist centres, where a fee may be payable. The mooring spikes on board give you total freedom.
How far can I cruise?
Normal cruising speed averages at about 8-10 kph (5-6 mph) and it takes up to 20 minutes to go through a lock. Plan to cruise no more than 4-5 hours each day and you’ll cover 30-40 kms (20-25 miles), but remember to allow time for each lock you need to pass through.
Will I need to fill up with fuel or water?
Before departure, your boat will have been thoroughly cleaned and all mechanical equipment checked. The full tank of diesel should provide enough fuel for at least two weeks cruising. The water supply should last about two days before you need to refill at one of the many water points shown in your canal guide.
What happens if we need assistance?
Our technicians are at your service seven days a week. Whatever the problem, simply phone the boat base and they will be happy to help you.
Can we hire bicycles?
The bicycles are a great addition to your cruise - the towpaths along canals make ideal bicycle tracks. You can reserve bicycles when you book. You pay at the base.
Where can I eat?
On your cruise you can seek out local specialities - home grown produce or regional dishes. Shop for them in markets and cook on board in your fully-equipped galley, or alternatively try them in the many restaurants along your route. You'll find a list of recommendations on board. Villages are never far away, and you can use bicycles to fetch fresh bread or warm croissants for breakfast.
How do I get to the boat base?
You can make your own way to the boat base by car or public transport. Our maps show main routes and stations.
How do I book?
Use our country and area information to decide where you would like to go. You can study our detailed routes on our Google maps or through the Google Earth links. Then use our availability search to find the boat of your choice and contact us to advise and book. We can then make a Provisional Reservation for you, following which you complete the online booking form to finalise the booking.