Deprecated: Function get_magic_quotes_gpc() is deprecated in /customers/2/0/6/ on line 51 Boating Holidays & Canal Boat Hire | Freewheel Afloat | FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Which boat should I choose?
Choosing the right boat is obviously important. The number of people, types of cabins required, numbers of showers and toilets, size of communal area for cooking and eating, and amount of deck space for sunbathing, eating and relaxation are all factors to take into account. The size of the boat and related engine size also have an impact on the amount of fuel consumed, which is paid for separately according to how far you travel. Our descriptions show both the maximum sleeping capacity and the 'comfort' capacity. The first includes all beds which aren't permanent in cabins but which can be converted from seats in communal areas for example ; the second indicates the number of fixed bed spaces, including single and double beds. Having the maximum number of people aboard may seem like a good idea from a financial viewpoint, but it may not be the best solution if you are sensitive to overcrowding!

Boat handling - how difficult is it?
Many of our customers each year are trying a boating holiday for the first time and are naturally concerned about boat handling. It really is not that difficult. For a start you are moving at a maximum speed of around 5mph. You need to be alert to other waterway users but you will have time to react to any potential danger. You are given a full demonstration of the boat in operation before starting, including boat safety, navigation and lock-handling. Under tuition you learn how to steer the boat, how to moor up, and how everything on the boat functions. If there is a lock close to your start base you will also be shown how to deal with a lock passage.

Licence requirements
In France, Italy and England there are no licence requirements. In Germany there is no licence requirement for cruises from Untergöhren, Jabel, Fürstenberg or Marina Wolfsbruch. If, however, you wish to cruise south of Liebenwalde towards Berlin or out of Potsdam or Ketzin in any direction you will need a licence. The minimum requirement is an ICC licence (International Certificate of Competence). Please ask us for further details or consult:

You will almost certainly encounter a number of locks on your cruise. Most are automatic and manned by lock-keepers. It usually takes about 15 minutes to pass through a lock, but this gives you time to talk to other boaters and even buy some fresh produce from the lock keepers. Be aware that locks may close over lunchtime and on public holidays in some regions. Please ask us for details if you are concerned.

Start days
Most bases offer start days of Monday, Friday or Saturday. Boats can be accessed from 15.00 or 16.00 on your start day and have to be returned to base by 09.00 on the final day.

Return cruises and One-way cruises
In most regions you have the choice of a return or one-way cruise. With a return cruise you need to plot your route, assessing where you would like to visit and spend time, ensuring you are back at your base by the prescribed time and date. A one-way cruise is more straight forward from the journey planning point of view. The advantage of one-way is that you don't have to retrace your steps, but the disadvantage is extra costs associated with getting back to your vehicle and/or  the supplements charged on one-way travel. We can arrange either the transfer of a car driver back to base, the transfer of your car to the end base, or taxi travel to airports or railway stations - just ask for details and relevant costs, or check the price panels in this brochure.

Fuel, water, gas and power on board
You will have sufficient fuel on board unless you are out for more than two weeks. The same applies to cooking gas. Water tanks need replenishing every two days on average from facilities at mooring locations. Power for lights and hot water is produced by the boat's engine and stored for use when the engine is off. Some boats have a generator which runs off the engine to produce power when you're stationary. You can hook up to on-shore power sources at some mooring locations for which a charge is made of €10 - €25 per night.

Safety afloat
Your boat is built in conformity with exacting international standards. All boats comply with certain compulsory design features, notably for gas systems and ventilation. You will find a first aid box, life jackets and a rescue lifebuoy on board. Lifejackets should be worn by weak or non-swimmers and you will have to determine your own safety policy in respect of any children on board and especially during lock passage.

Car parking
Parking facilities vary according to base. Some bases have secure lock up parking and/or parking in garages on site or nearby. Our reservations team will be pleased to advise on facilities and costs for each base. If you're arriving by air or rail we can arrange taxi transfers from airports and railway stations to your base.

Hired bikes are great if you want to cycle off to get morning bread and other essential supplies, or if you fancy a quick spin along the canal towpath to rejoin your boat further along. Bikes can be pre-booked and paid for at your arrival base.

Towels and bed linen
All the boats in this brochure come supplied with towels and bed linen.

What to pack
Can be a subject of much debate and argument (!) but here are a few recommendations: rubber-soled shoes, gardening gloves for rope handling in locks, a torch and binoculars for wildlife watching.

How do I work out the total cost of the holiday?
The total cost will be the sum of:

- Basic boat hire cost
- Fuel cost
- Collision Damage Waiver if taken
- Mooring charges, inc. power and water
- Supplements for one way travel
- Optional extras, e.g bicycles, parking

If you are unsure we can help you estimate the total cost of your holiday.  

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