AS SOON AS YOU CAN…

1. Take out personal travel insurance

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is an important part of every holiday and we strongly recommend that you take out adequate cover, preferably from the moment of booking to ensure cancellation is covered. Cover should be obtained whether holidaying abroad or at home. 

2. Complete a Guest Information Form

Guest Information Form

MANDATORY ACTION

There’s some important information about you and you crew that we must know before you arrive. This allows us to prepare your boat correctly and helps us to provide a quick and hassle-free start to your holiday. It is vital this online form is completed at least 7 days before your departure. This is a mandatory requirement and you will not be allowed to board your boat if not completed.

 

Please note: you must nominate a Captain and 2nd-in-charge and indicate on the form who you have chosen. These people will be in charge of your boat while cruising and responsible for the safety of everyone on board.

 

Complete a Guest Information Form NOW

3. Plan your travel to base

Travel to base

Select your start base from our list of bases for more information about:

  • Our base opening times
  • Your base address and contact details
  • Directions & travel advice
  • Parking
  • Local taxi transfers information (if arriving by plane or train)
  • Car transfers (for those doing a one-way cruise)
  • Facilities at your base and close by

Select your start base

4. Add optional holiday extras

Optional extras

We offer a range of optional extras to make your holiday more comfortable, easy and enjoyable. Most extras can be purchased at the base but, to guarantee availability and to take advantage of reduced rates, we advise you pre-book them before you travel. You can add extras by managing your booking online using our ‘my account’ portal. You’ll need your Le Boat booking reference, lead bookers surname and departure date to be able to login and access the correct booking. 

  

Extras include bike hire, groceries, gas barbecues, stand-up paddleboards, early check-in and late check-out. 

 

Find out more about all our optional holiday extras

5. Pay your balance

Pay your balance

You, or any member of your party, can make part payments, or pay your balance in full at any time before your balance is due. Simply manage your booking online using our ‘my account’ portal and pay by card. You’ll need your Le Boat booking reference, lead bookers surname and departure date to be able to login and access the correct booking. 

 

If you would rather pay with one of our sales team instead, then please don’t hesitate to call us during office hours.

 

MANAGE YOUR BOOKING ONLINE: Make a payment

 

IN THE WEEK BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

6. Check navigation restrictions

Navigation restrictions icon

There may be some navigation restrictions in your booked cruising region, which might limit where, or how far, you can navigate your boat. Such restrictions could include the closure of a particular waterway, or a lock, due to essential maintenance, industrial action or unnavigable water levels. 

 

Conditions and circumstances can change without notice, so it is not always possible to inform you about such restrictions in advance. However, please check the restrictions we do know about, what they are and whether they apply to your holiday. Then you can plan your time on the water accordingly. 

 

> Check restrictions in your cruising region 

7. Watch our safety video

Watch safety video

MANDATORY ACTION

We take your safety very seriously and ALL members of your party must watch our safety video.

 

Due to social distancing measures, we are no longer able to gather large groups to watch this video at our bases, so it is compulsory that everyone watches the video before you arrive, otherwise you will not be able to board your boat.

 

You will be asked to sign to confirm this as part of you pre-departure briefing. We thank you in advance for your understanding and help.

Watch our Safety Video NOW

8. Our base team will try to call you

Pre-departure Call

We want to make sure your arrival experience is safe, hassle-free and that you get the most from your boating holiday. As such, our base team will try to call you sometime during the week prior to departure - this might even be the day before you depart

 

  • They will chat to you about your arrival, your boat & the area and answer any questions you might have. 
  • They may confirm a more specific time that you should aim to arrive by. We can’t check everyone in at once so we stagger check ins & briefings to try and avoid unnecessary waiting time. If we are unable to contact you, you should arrive any time between 3pm and 5pm (or from 11am if you have booked and paid for an early check-in.)  
  • They will make sure we have any essential information about you and your party, including any special requirements.

 

If we are unable to contact you, for whatever reason, you can always contact the base team at any time if there’s anything you’d like to know before your cruise.

 

We can only call you if we have your phone number which you will have provided when you booked. If you have booked via a booking agent, we will obtain your number from your Guest Information Form, which your agent should have asked you to complete. Please note: If you've made a last-minute booking (within 5 days of departure) we probably won't get a chance to call you. 

9. Start packing

What to pack

Things to take with you:

  • Bedding is provided, but if you are driving to base, you are welcome to bring your own bedding if you would prefer.
  • Credit/debit cards - to pay deposits required at base.  (Visa or Mastercard please.)
  • Soft bags which can fold away are much better than suitcases as boats have limited storage space
  • Non-slip rubber-soled shoes
  • Leather or gardening gloves are useful when holding the ropes in the locks. (Available to purchase at the base)
  • Binoculars for bird and wildlife watching
  • A flashlight* for walking along towpaths at night
  • Comfortable clothes to suit all weather conditions
  • Suncream, sun hats** and sunglasses are essential - you can burn easily by the water
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Large beach towels for sunbathing
  • Extra 1-ply biodegradable toilet paper (1 roll provided per toilet on board)
  • Environmentally-friendly hand soap, bathroom soap and shampoo
  • Kitchen rubbish/waste bags
  • Worktop and dish cleaning products*
  • Food, snacks (salt & pepper, cooking oil, etc) - all drinks including your own drinking water
  • A travel SIM Card in case you need to make local calls while travelling abroad

*Please note that we do offer an Eco-Pack with ecological cleaning & washing products. You can also rent a LED lantern. In France, you can also add a Premium Grocery Pack you your booking which contains groceries for your first evening and morning on board.

Visit Holiday Extras for more details.

**Le Boat caps are available to purchase at the base

 

 

Already on board

What's provided on board:

  • Bed linen.
  • Duvets and pillows.
  • Small bathroom towels and tea towels (not beach towels).
  • Fridge (with a small freezer compartment for ice), burners and gas oven. The size of the fridge depends of the boat model, please refer to boat feature specifics located on individual boat pages for more technical details.
  • Kitchen utensils, cutlery, pots and pans.
  • Electronics and power: All boats have a 12 volt power sockets (as you would use in a car) which can be used to plug in your adapter lead for a mobile phone or any other low power equipment. Some models also have 110/210V/220V plug sockets (you will need a plug adaptor suitable for the country you are visiting). On most boats, these sockets only provide power when cruising or when 'hooked-up' to a shore power supply. Our Liberty and Horizon boats also have USB sockets in the saloon and all cabins. A Dishwasher and Nespresso® machine is also available on our Liberty boats.
  • Safety equipment (inc. life jackets)

Download a detailed inventory of equipment supplied on all of our boats

Check out the equipment and feature specific to your boat model

MORE INFORMATION

Find out more about what to expect when you arrive at our base, as well as what happens when you return your boat. >Your arrival

More questions? We have the answers >Our FAQs

Stay safe abroad

For the latest travel advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs (Republic of Ireland) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (Northern Ireland) on staying safe and healthy abroad. including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information check www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice (Republic of Ireland) | www.gov.uk/travelaware (Northern Ireland).

Before you depart:

  • Take out appropriate travel insurance before travelling and make sure it covers you for all the activities you want to do.
  • If you are travelling within Europe, ensure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) that hasn’t expired and understand what it covers -you still need full travel insurance though! For your free GHIC or EHIC card visit visit www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/ehic (Republic of Ireland) |  www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/ (Northern Ireland)
  • Learn about the laws, customs and entry requirements of the country you’re visiting and understand how they differ from home, check www.dfa.ie/travel (Republic of Ireland) | www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice  (Northern Ireland)
  • Check your passport is valid, fill out the emergency details, look after it while travelling and keep it in a safe place. Make sure you have all necessary visas.
  • Make copies of important travel documents, take a picture or make copies and store them securely using a secure data storage site.
  • Research vaccinations or any other medical requirements for your destination, and if necessary visit a travel health clinic before you travel. For medical advice visit www.tmb.ie (Republic of Ireland) | www.travelhealthpro.org.uk (Northern Ireland)
  • Tell your friends or family about your travel plans and where you’re going and leave emergency contact details.
  • Take enough money with you and have access to emergency funds. Ensure you take the contact details of the local Irish or British Consulate in case of emergencies www.dfa.ie/embassies (Republic of Ireland) | www.gov.uk/government/world/embassies (Northern Ireland)
  • Understand what consular staff can and can’t do to help British nationals travelling overseas, check www.dfa.ie/global-irish/support-overseas (Republic of Ireland) | www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-british-nationals-abroad-a-guide (Northern Ireland)
  • Act responsibly, and be responsible for yourself when abroad.

Plan your itinerary

Some people like to plan in advance, others like to see what takes their fancy when they get there. Either way, to make the most of your holiday, you may find the following planning tips useful…

Check out our region guide

We've produced a region guide for each of our cruising areas, that you can download, to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway. Use it to help you plan your time. We also have a small selection of suggested itineraries for some of our cruising routes. You can download these and follow them verbatim or just use them to help you plan your own itinerary. We only have a few available at the moment, but we are creating new ones all the time. 

 Check our guide for cruising times

Approximate cruising times between stops can be found in our region guides.

 

Take a look at our navigation restrictions page to keep up to date with the cruising conditions across all of our regions.

 Take your time and embrace the world around you

Don’t take on too much. An average of three to four hours of cruising time each day is a nice pace. Any more than this and you’ll begin to tire and you might miss out on all there is to do and see. Of course you still need to ensure you arrive at your end base on time!

 Don't rush your trip - allow yourself to relax

Build plenty of ‘wiggle’ room into your plan. Life on the water is slow-paced and you may be unexpectedly held up at locks. Or you may want to stay a little longer in a particular place.

 Be sure of lock opening hours

Find out what time locks are open and be mindful that they close over lunch in some regions. As such, you may want to be moored up during these times or in a stretch that has no locks. In some regions locks close on public holidays or have reduced hours outside of peak season. Hours of operation and closure days are listed in our region guides.

 Call ahead to be sure

Call ahead to check if attractions are open, or to make restaurant reservations. However, be prepared to alter your plans - your progress along the waterway can sometimes take longer than expected.

 Plan ahead for check in and check out times

Remember to allow enough time to get to the end base you’ve booked. Unless you have booked a late check out, you need to be back by 9am. In some regions locks don’t open until this time, so make sure there are none left to pass through by the time they close the previous day.

 

If you do like to plan ahead – download our holiday planner template (PDF), to help you organise your time.

Discover your boating region

Region guides

We have produced handy Region Guide for each of our boating regions, to help you decide where you’ll like to stop and visit during your holiday. They offer a summary of each town/village we recommend is worth stopping for, as well as information about local facilities/amenities, markets and recommended restaurants. Each guide also shows how long it will take you to cruise between each stop, the number of locks you’ll encounter, as well as information on locks, moorings and facilities specific to each region. A copy of the guide will be given to you at the base, but why not download a pdf copy now and start planning. Alternatively, you could visit the relevant webpage on this website.

Download a suggested itinerary

Suggested itineraries by Le Boat

Exclusively for Le Boat customers, we've created a range of suggested itineraries using our years of experience and in-house expertise. These hour-by-hour itineraries, show you where you should cruise to, how long it should take to get there and how long to we think you should stay. Plus, we've included our restaurant recommendations and some alternatives for families with younger children, You can follow these itineraries verbatim or use them as a general guide to give you ideas and inspiration. You’re the captain!

 

We only have itineraries available for a handful of our routes at the moment, but we're creating more all the time.

View our suggested itienraries

 

Chart your course

Chart your course

As well as our handy region guides, navigational charts/maps are also provided on board, which you should consult at all times to ensure you avoid or prepare for upcoming hazards such as weirs, shallow water, locks and bridges. They offer very detailed information about the waterway and some give more information about the towns and villages’ en-route and the facilities on offer at each (such as moorings, water, marinas, shops, etc). If you would like this level of detail to help you plan your holiday, maps for most of our regions can be purchased direct from the suppliers online.

Discover exclusive local deals from our partners

Discover our local partner deals

We've partnered up with some of the best local businesses from the towns and villages along our waterways to help you get the most out of your Le Boat holiday.

 

With special discounts on everything from restaurants and vineyards to local museums and water sports, there's something for everyone. These exclusive offers are only available for Le Boat customers, so don't miss out! 

 

We have deals for you to discover in Canada, France, Netherlands, Belgium, England and Ireland.

No experience required

No experience necessary

You don't need any previous boating experience to be the captain of your own boat on a boating holiday. On arrival, we’ll give you an in-depth briefing on the specifics of your boat so you can cruise and live aboard with confidence and in comfort. However, if you would like to get a head start, the following resources will show you everything you need to know about handling a boat and staying safe on the waterways. Reviewing this before your holiday will aid your understanding of what you are told during the pre-departure briefing and will help you to become confident with the boat and the waterway more quickly.

Licences & permits

A boating licence or permit is not required in nearly all our cruising regions. In France, after your pre-departure briefing you will be given a temporary permit for the duration of your holiday. The only region where a licence is required is Germany – although there are licence-free areas.

Licensed areas: certain cruising areas in Germany require an International Certificate for Operator of Pleasure Craft (also known as an ICC or an International Certificate of Competence), which is issued in UNECE member States in accordance with Resolution No. 40. Without this licence you won’t be able to cruise on these waterways. If your licence does not reference ‘Resolution No. 40 of the UNECE Working Party on Inland Water Transport’ – we suggest you send it to our sales team prior to booking so it can be validated.

 

Unlicensed areas: If you don’t have a licence and wish to cruise in licence-free area of Germany (which includes the waterways around our bases in Jabel and Marina Wolfsbruch), our base teams are required to provide additional tuition prior to your departure. This means your pre-departure briefing will take two hours in total and you must arrive at the base in time for this tuition which begins at 2pm (although we suggest you arrive 60 minutes earlier to complete checkin beforehand). Even after this tuition, you will still not be allowed to cruise in licensed areas.

 

If you have a licence this additional tuition is not required, your pre-departure briefing will take the usual 1hr and your check-in will be arranged between 3pm and 5pm (unless you have booked an early check-in).

Handling your boat and navigating the waterway

Our useful boat handling and navigation pdf will give you a good overview of how to handle your boat, including passing, overtaking, mooring, going through locks and understanding signs on the waterway. The following videos will also help. All of this information will be given to you during your pre-departure briefing and is available on board inside the Boat and Navigation Manual, but reviewing before your holiday will aid your understanding and will help you to become confident with the boat and the waterway more quickly.

Antes de la salida:

Learn how to drive a boat. This video shows you all essential checks before your depart on your boating adventure.

Clip 2 - Tools on your boat - ENG

Learn how to drive a boat. This video shows you how to use navigational maps, ropes and knots.

Clip 3 - Driving a canal boat - ENG

It's time to start your boating holiday. This video will give you information about steering and important maneuvers on the water.

Clip 4 - The Locks - ENG

Don't be afraid of locks. In this video, we give you an overview of the different lock types and how to best navigate them.

Clip 5 - Navigation rules - ENG

This video gives you an overview of the rules and regulations for navigating on inland waterways. 

Clip 6 - How to moor your boat - ENG

We show you how to moor your canal boat securely in different scenarios you might encounter on your boating holidays.

Clip 7 - Responsible cruising - ENG

Responsible cruising on the inland waterways is a must. We show you what to watch out for.

Staying safe

We want you and your crew to have a safe and enjoyable holiday so please read and abide by our safety guidelines to reduce the risk of accidents and injury while on board. The guidelines will be given to you at base, but it is a good idea to read these at home, before you holiday, to ensure you have a good understanding by the time you arrive. You are required to nominate a captain and a 2nd-in-charge’ who will be responsible for the safety of the crew and can take charge in case of an emergency. These persons must receive a briefing session by one of our base technicians who will show them how to safely control and navigate the boat. Their signatures are required on the pre-departure paperwork to confirm this instruction has been given and understood.

Staying safe - no alcohol

Boating under the influence of drink or drugs is dangerous, significantly increases the likelihood of serious accidents and is not permitted by law. Even once you have safely moored, drink in moderation to avoid accidents when getting on & off and moving about the boat.

Wear life jackets

We strongly advise all passengers to wear life jackets while on deck, particularly when inside locks (compulsory in some locks/regions) and when mooring where the risk of accidents is greater. Children and non swimmers are also at greater risk.

Sécurité à bord 3

When driving, be alert and pay attention at all times. Stay within marked channels and always refer to your waterways map to identify navigational hazards (weirs, shallows, strong currents, swimming areas, bridges, tunnels and locks) and pass them SLOWLY and with caution. Always obey local speed restrictions.