Frequently asked questions
Answers to Frequent Questions:
How can I make a booking?
You can either book on-line or call us and we will reserve the boat for you. We require a 25% deposit to confirm the booking, with the balance due 8 weeks before your departure date.
Once you submit the booking form on-line or sign the booking form in the brochure, you are then entering a legal contract and will be liable for the full cost of the holiday. Please click here for details of our booking terms and conditions
It is recommended that you protect yourself by taking out our cancellation protection scheme, which will cover the cost of cancellation due to sickness or accident.
What is included in the hire charge?
A full inventory list is available here and the hire charge also includes gas, bed linen and VAT. We will also send you a grocery list which you can fill in and return to the base and your groceries will be waiting for you when you arrive (£5 charge plus the cost of the groceries payable directly to the base). Please note this service is only available on Saturday starts.
What is the Damage Waiver?
The Damage Waiver Scheme fee of £50 covers you in the event of damage, loss or accident to your boat or its inventory during your holiday. It is non-refundable and avoids the requirement for a damage deposit payment of £500 to cover the insurance excess pending any claims. Please ensure all passenger names are on your completed booking form.
1. Speeding (reported or witnessed. The limit is 4mph).
2. Malicious, negligent or intentional damage to the boat, its inventory, third party property, the canal and its structures.
3. Damage to the rudder, skeg or transmission due to cill damage in a lock.
4. Return of the boat late or in an unclean condition.
In the event of any of the above being reported, we shall claim
the full cost of repairs, replacement or compensation.
What time is the boat available from?
Boats are available between 2.30pm and 3.30pm Saturdays, Mondays and Fridays or from 9.30am on Wednesday departures. Boats should be returned and vacated by 9.30am Saturdays, Mondays and Fridays or 2.30pm on Tuesday returns. If a boat is returned late or unclean, it will cause a delay for the next hirer. In this event, we reserve the right to charge additional costs.
What would I need to take?
Can I bring my pet?
We have a large selection of pet friendly boats but please keep them off the furniture and bedding. There is a charge of £30 each (payable on arrival at the base) and no more than 2 pets please. The intention to bring pets must be clearly stated at time of booking as some boats are pet-free.
Can I charge my laptop and mobile?
There is a 12v/USB charger point on each boat and inverters are also available to hire from the base, allowing you to use a normal plug (max 100 watts).
Will I have to fill up with diesel and water?
The boat has a 110 gallon water tank which should be refilled daily from water points along the canal. Your boat will have a full tank of diesel which is adequate for 2 weeks. The diesel fuel you have used will be charged upon return of the boat and the cost per litre will be slightly lower than supermarket prices. (2012 – average cost £10-15 per day). The boats will typically use between 1.2-1.7 litres per hour depending on driving style. The central heating systems are oil fired, which will also use diesel during colder periods.
How do I get to the base?
Directions and information on public transport to the bases are included in our base information sheets, which are sent out with your booking confirmation. They are also available on our website by clicking in the ‘bases’ section. We also have an agreement with Hertz Car Rental who will provide reduced rates for Black Prince customers. To book your car visit www.hertz.co.uk or call 0870 844 4844 and quote CDP 694816
How can I view a boat?
Would you like to view a boat of a particular class? This can be arranged by calling the office on 01527 575115. One of our team can arrange for you to visit one of our boatyards, at a time to suit both parties.
Where can I park my car?
All of our bases have free car parking, but we are unable to accept responsibility for loss or damage to customer’s vehicles.
Can I buy a map?
We provide a range of maps which are available to order on the booking form prior to departure. Additional guides and maps including Lockmaster series are available at our bases along with souvenirs.
Are bedding and towels provided?
For every fixed bed we provide an interior sprung mattress, duvet and cover, a pillow and pillow case, a mattress protector and sheet. For beds made up in the evening in the lounge area, we also provide bedding. We provide one bath towel per customer. For holidays of 2 weeks or more additional bedding and towels are provided.
Can I hire a buoyancy aid?
Each boat is equipped with a life-ring and buoyancy aids are available free of charge. These come in four sizes to suit toddlers to adults and will be individually fitted before you leave.
Can I go fishing?
Fishing is allowed on rivers and canals provided you have an Environment Agency rod licence, which is available on-line or from any post office (except when fishing is prohibited on rivers between 15th March and 15th June). Many clubs will not object to fishing from boats but some may require you to buy a day ticket. Live bait must not be taken onboard the boat.
Do I need a license to go on the river?
An additional licence is required for the River Avon, Thames and Nene. Further details can be given at the base before departure. (Licence payment is non-refundable.)
How old are your boats?
We are the largest builder of hire boats in the UK and we introduce new boats regularly giving us the youngest hire fleet in the country.
Do you sell your boats?
As we regularly renew our fleet, a selection of our boats are retired at the end of each season. For more information please click here.
Inland Waterways Cruising School
Training course for an RYA recognised helmsman’s certificate
Dedicated to considerate boating on UK inland waterways
The Boaters Handbook Video
A useful video by British Waterways
A Narrowboat Experience DVD
A basic Guide to Boat Handling & Canal Cruising – Exclusive offer for Black Prince customers
A one day hands-on helmsmans course ideal for the first timer. Click to view the pdf
An excellent site to help you plan your route