Self-drive day boat hire

Terms and conditions

Conditions of Hire

1. The contract does not take effect until we have received a completed booking form and funds are cleared for the hire deposit.

2. We shall not be responsible for the consequences of delays and restrictions to cruising arising from damage or repairs to the navigation or associated structures, and any other cause that is beyond our control. We reserve the right to restrict the movements of boats in the event of hazardous conditions.


3. We cannot be held responsible for delays or non-availability of the craft that are caused by breakdowns, defects, obstructions or restriction of the cruising area. In the event of the craft being unavailable, all monies will be refunded and the Hirer shall have no further claim.

Late return and condition

4. The boat must be returned in a clean and tidy condition and at the specified time. A charge of £30.00 per hour or part thereof will be made if the boat is returned late. If the boat is returned in an unreasonably dirty or damaged condition, all or part of the damage deposit may be forfeited.

Boarding times

5. Normal boarding time is 8.30 am. Outside these times by prior arrangement.


6. Full tuition will be given to the Hirer in the handling of the boat, the safe working of the locks, and the waterway code of practice. It is the Hirer’s responsibility to deem that adequate instruction has taken place and sign the declaration provided to confirm this. The safe navigation of the boat, its equipment and all passengers, will then become the responsibility of the Hirer.

Hirer responsibility

7. In particular it is the responsibility of the hirer to ensure that: 1) Passengers do not sit or stand on the roof at any time, as this is a dangerous practice. 2) Passengers do not walk along the gunwales (the side of the boat), as this is a dangerous practice. 3) Passengers are wearing suitable buoyancy aids where appropriate. 4) The bow doors are closed and secured whilst the boat is moving. 5) No one under the age of 18 may control the boat without the supervision of an experienced adult. 6) Any person taking control of the boat remains sober whilst navigating. Alcohol limits are as defined by the Public Road Traffic Acts. Please note that it is an offence to drive a boat whilst suffering the effects of alcohol. 7) The person in charge conforms to the speed restrictions and general canal etiquette as laid down in the Waterways Code of Practice. 8) Passengers do not smoke on board the boat.

Buoyancy aids

8. Buoyancy aids to fit all sizes are available on request at no extra charge. Please indicate on booking form. We advise that passengers under the age of 16 should wear buoyancy aids: however, it is the responsibility of the Hirer to determine the need for such aids.

Unsuitable hirers

9. We reserve the right to decline a booking or refuse to hand over the boat to any person who, in our opinion, is not suitable to take charge. In such cases all monies paid will be refunded in full and the contract will be discharged without further liability to either party.

10. We reserve the right to repossess the boat at any time. This may occur where:
1) An accident or damage has occurred.
2) We have reason to believe that an accident may occur because of the unsuitability of the Hirer.
3) Where a boat is found to have more passengers aboard than those listed on the booking form.
4) Where the Hirer is causing a nuisance to the public.

In any of the above cases we shall not be liable to make a refund of any part of the hire charges or damage deposit paid.

Own equipment
11. No portable heating, lighting or electrical equipment or any such potentially hazardous items are permitted which may cause a danger to the boat or its passengers. Please phone to check the suitability of any equipment you may wish to bring.

Injury or damage

12. We are in no way liable for death or personal injury, or loss or damage to your property or that of any passengers unless it is caused by our negligence.


13. The boat is thoroughly checked before each hiring. Should the craft suffer any mechanical breakdown please notify us as quickly as possible so that repairs can be carried out with minimum delay. We shall not be held liable for any loss or damage that you may suffer as a result of such a breakdown.


14. Well-behaved dogs are welcome by prior arrangement. Please note that dogs must on no account be allowed on the roof of the boat, and should be kept under close control during passage through locks. Please do not allow dogs on the upholstery and be sure to clean up any fouling on the towpath. A scoop for this purpose will be supplied free of charge.

Wheelchairs and pushchairs

15. Wheelchairs and pushchairs should not be taken into the cabin as they may obstruct the exits in the event of an accident or emergency. We are not liable for any damage or personal injury resulting from these items being brought into the cabin.


16. The Hirer is in charge of the boat and is responsible for its safe navigation. In the event of an accident involving another boat or other craft or property, it is the Hirer’s responsibility to establish the name of the boat involved together with the names and addresses of the owner and/or hirer and if possible obtain names and addresses of any witnesses. Under no circumstances should anyone admit liability. Any such incidents must be reported as soon as possible with full details of the accident and damage. All accidents and damage including personal injury, however minor, must be reported on your return.


17. We are responsible for any repairs. Repairs should not be put in the hands of others without our authority

Damage deposit

18. A damage deposit of £100 is payable (in cash or cheque with guarantee card only) at the time of hire. The damage deposit will be returned in full provided that the boat and equipment is returned on time, clean and tidy, without loss or damage, and the boat has not been involved in any accident.


19. The boat is fully insured, but the Hirer is responsible for the first £250 of any claim. This cover does not include personal belongings, damage resulting from careless or reckless behaviour, or any malicious, deliberate, or alcohol-affected act. The Hirer is responsible for any costs arising from such incidents.


20. The Hirer must not attempt to tow other craft, cruise after dark, or take part in any race. The Hirer must navigate with caution at all times observing speed restrictions, and relevant by-laws and instruction. No live bait (e.g. maggots) may be taken on board. The Hirer must not interfere with any safety equipment (e.g. fire extinguishers or fuel lines). Gas bottles must not be disconnected or tampered with under any circumstances.

Car parking

21. We accept no liability for loss or damage to customers’ vehicles or their contents.

Hen and stag parties

22. We regret that bookings for hen and stag parties will only be taken at our discretion. Please contact us for further information.

The Kennet Horse Boat Company brings you two ways to enjoy a leisurely boat trip on one of England’s finest canals

They’re both great ways to escape from the madness of modern life and experience the slower pace of yesteryear.

Just sit back and soak up the beauty of the countryside from a totally different viewpoint.

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