Your arrival… and when you get back

Ensuring a safe and hassle-free start, and end, to your holiday

The following arrival and return procedures have been carefully reviewed and adapted to make your arrival as hassle-free as possible and to minimise the risk of trasmitting Covid-19 at our bases and on our boats. For other measures we’ve taken at our bases and on our boat – visit our ‘Covid Safety Charter’ 


Preparing for check-in

Prepare for check-in

Our base staff are looking forward to welcoming you to their cruising region and making your arrival experience and holiday as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


However, in order to reduce the time you need to spend in reception, which is important for effective social distancing, most check-in requirements should have been completed before your departure. See our 'Getting Ready’ page for details of the actions you must complete at home,including the opportunity to watch an 'Arrival and Area Briefing' video specific to your booked base and cruising area. Other check-in requirements will also be completed by phone when our base team calls you sometime in the week prior to your departure.


Important: you must also complete an online Guest Information Form and all members of your party must watch our safety video prior to your arrival. These are mandatory requirements and you will not be able to board your boat if not completed.

Arrival time

Arrival time

Standard check-ins will be arranged between 3pm-5pm. For early check-ins (if prebooked) you should arrive from 11am.


To minimise waiting times as much as possible, we arrange staggered arrivals so we are able to check you in as quickly as possible after you arrive. Our base team will try to call you sometime in the 7 days prior to your arrival and, during this call, we’ll confirm when you should aim to get to your departure base. To help us do this, please complete the online  Guest Information Form, at least 7 days before your arrival so that we know the best number to call you on.


After you arrive and we’ve checked you in, your boat might not be ready immediately, but we will get you settled on board as soon as possible. We’ll also let you know on the day what time you can then expect your pre-departure boat briefing so that you’re set up for a safe enjoyable cruise. You won’t be able to leave the dockside until you’ve received this briefing.  In fact, most customers will be unable to leave until early evening or, in some cases, the following morning. 


Arriving after hours?





Upon arrival, you should follow the most up to date local government advice around wearing masks and social distancing. As guidelines often change, and as per advice in our pre departure videos, we would recommend you wear a face mask while inside reception and that only one customer from your group goes into reception at any time to make it more comfortable for everyone. At our bases with smaller receptions, only one customer in total will be allowed in reception at any given time. Please follow all guidance given by our base team on arrival.


Inside, you’ll be greeted with a smile, but no handshake. We hope you’ll understand. You will need to sign a few documents to show certain information has been fully read and understood. The Reception team will also need to take a Damage Deposit from you by way of a pre-authorisation on your credit card, as well as an Engine Hours Deposit. (Visa or Mastercard please.) See compulsory costs for more details. 


In Germany, if you don’t have a licence and wish to cruise in licence-free areas of Germany our base teams are required to provide additional tuition prior to your departure which begins at 2pm every day. See the 'Learn more about boating' tab on our ‘Getting Ready’ page for more details.

Licences are only required in some area of Germany. Licences are not required in any of our other cruising areas.

As well as the language local to the region, our teams are happy to communicate in English at all of our bases. It is possible that other languages might be spoken in some bases, but this cannot be guaranteed. All paperwork/literature, on board and at all our bases, is available in English, French and German.

Pre-departure briefing

Pre-departure Briefing

Shortly after you have been shown to your boat, one of our base technicians will familiarise your nominated Captain and 2nd-in-charge with the boat’s domestic systems and give you a hands-on demonstration of the boat controls and how to operate it. They will make sure you are comfortable and confident controlling the boat, as well as navigating the waterway, before you set off.


Our team will do all they can to maintain a safe distance during the demonstration, however this is not always possible. They will therefore wear a mask during the briefing and we would recommend that your nominated Captain and 2nd-in-charge, and anyone else onboard, do the same. As a minimum, we require our customers to follow the most up to date local government advice around wearing masks. As restrictions evolve, our team may adjust their approach accordingly with regard to social distancing and the wearing of masks. However, they will continue to be happy to wear a face mask during any communication and interaction with you, so please feel free to ask them to do so.


At the end of the briefing, the Captain and 2nd-in-Charge will need to sign to say appropriate instruction has been received - and also that our safety video has been watched by all members of the party.

Onboard resources

Onboard resources

Our teams at your start base are there to ensure you are comfortable, confident and stay safe. However, you will be given lots of written information to refer to, in case you forget anything.


You will receive:

  • contact numbers for assistance while you cruise.
  • a welcome booklet containing essential safety information and links to other helpful online resources.
  • navigation maps and charts.
  • a detailed boat manual.
  • written guidelines on boat handling and navigating the waterway.

See the 'Learn more about boating' tab of our ‘getting ready’ page to read some of these resources online before you leave home. It may aid your understanding of the pre-departure briefing and help you to become confident more quickly.



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Late arrival procedure

If you are arriving after the base closes, you will be able to settle on board your boat, but you might not be able to set off until after you briefing is completed the following morning.


If the base team has left by the time you arrive, there will be a note on the reception door informing you which boat is yours and where to find it. Your boat will be left open so you can spend your first night on board, but cruising will not be permitted. An information wallet and reference manual will be left on aboard so you can find out how to operate the on-board domestic systems. Your pre-departure briefing will take place the following morning once the base has opened.


If you encounter delays on your way to our base and you will not arrive at the time you have advised or agreed, please call our base as soon as possible to let them know so that they can prepare for your late arrival. Contact numbers (and opening hours) for each base can be found on our base pages.


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Return time

Return time

Your boat should be returned and unoccupied by 9am on your last cruising day (or by midday if you have booked a late check-out).


Please be mindful that the locks in some regions don’t open until 9am, so you will need to be through the last lock before they close the previous day.


You may spend your last night at our base if you wish. If you would like to check out early – just let our base team know in advance so they can prepare for your return.


Preparing your boat for handover

Boat handover preparation

For the safety of our base team and to reduce the contact they have with your boat after use, all customers must:

  • empty the fridge and bin all leftover provisioning, or take it with you.
  • bag and remove all rubbish from the boat and place in the bins available at the base.
  • strip all linen and place sheets, duvet covers and pillow cased in the laundry bins provided at each base.
  • wash crockery, utensils, etc. in hot soapy water and put away.

If you have not paid for an end-of-cruise cleaning service, you must also:

  • Clean all counter top and work surfaces
  • Clean bathrooms and toilets.
  • Sweep the floors and mop the decks.

Please note, all boats are thoroughly deep cleaned and disinfected after EVERY customer by base staff, in accordance with our strict and robust cleaning processes. See ‘Covid Safety Charter’ page for more details

Return procedure

Return procedure

Once you have cleared your boat you should report to reception. A technician will check the boat and record the amount of engine hours you have used and the reception team will arrange a refund of any unused hours from your deposit (may take 5-10 working days to appear on your statement depending on card provider) or will charge any additional hours used. Please report any incidents or damage to the boat.