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Boat Hire Conditions


  • Please read these conditions carefully. They are all part of the hire agreement and describe the rights and duties of both you and the Company.

    In these Conditions and the Agreement the following words have the following meanings:-
    "Agreement" means the Hire Agreement between You and the Company which is evidenced by your booking request and the Booking Confirmation and is made on the basis of these Conditions.
    "Booking Confirmation" means the written confirmation issued to You by the Company confirming the hire period, price, place of delivery and other key particulars of the booking.
    "Company" means Britannia Narrow Boats Ltd trading as Shire Cruisers of The Wharf Sowerby Bridge HX6 2AG.
    "You" and “Your” means the person or persons named in the Booking Confirmation, or anyone added at a later date. If there is more than one of You each of You shall be individually responsible for complying with the Agreement.
    "Conditions" means these Boat Hire Conditions.
    "Price" means the price in the Booking Confirmation.
    Deposit” means the deposit in the Booking Confirmation.
    "Start Date" means the start date in the Booking Confirmation.
    "End Date" means the end date in the Booking Confirmation.
    "Hire Period" means the hire period in the Booking Confirmation.
    "Written" means that the item has been printed, typed, written out by hand or sent or displayed by email or other electronic means.
    2.1 When You request a booking you are making an offer to hire a boat on these Conditions. If the Company accepts Your booking, it will issue the Booking Confirmation to You. The Agreement will not be considered an effective contract until the Company has received Your booking details and Deposit and sent You a Booking Confirmation. Bookings will be accepted via the Company’s website, over the telephone, by email, in person, or by the Company’s appointed agents.
    2.2 You, as party leader, are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the personal details and any other information supplied in respect of You and Your party.
    2.3 The Company is not responsible for maintaining or administering the waterways. Any information provided to You by the Company as to a suggested route or particular waterway is provided for general reference only. The Company makes no representation, or offers no guarantee or warranty, that any particular waterway or suggested route will be open or available for navigation during the Hire Period.
    2.4 When You receive the Booking Confirmation please check the details carefully and inform the Company immediately if anything is incorrect.
    2.5 A provisional or conditional booking is not binding and You may cancel it at any time before the Booking Confirmation is sent out to You by the Company. Similarly the Company may hire the boat to another party in place of You at any time before a Booking Confirmation has been sent to You.
    2.6 Nothing in these Conditions affects Your statutory rights.

    3.1 The Company's advertised Prices are in pounds sterling (£) and include Value Added Tax (VAT). If the rates of VAT or any other government tax are changed so that a different rate applies to Your hire under these Conditions any difference will be charged, or refunded, to You as the case may be.
    3.2 The Company reserves the right to correct errors in advertised or quoted prices before or at the time of booking and will confirm the correct price in the Booking Confirmation.
    3.3 The Booking Confirmation sets out the total Price payable by You.
    3.4 You, as the party leader, are responsible for making all payments due to the Company. Payment is deemed to have been made when cash or cleared funds have been received by the Company.
    3.5 You will need to pay the Deposit at the time of the booking request, by bank transfer, credit or debit card, cheque or cash. The deposit is 20% of the total Price, minimum £125.
    3.6 The balance of the Price is due not less than 6 weeks before the Start Date as shown in the Booking Confirmation. Time of payment shall be of the essence of the Agreement. Failure to pay the Price by the due date may result in the booking being cancelled but Your liability for payment will remain.
    3.7 For bookings made less than 6 weeks before the Start Date You must pay the full Price at the time of the booking request.
    3.8 The Company may charge interest at the rate of 4% per annum over Bank of England base rate on any money which is overdue from the due date until the actual date of full payment.
    3.9 The Booking Confirmation is not a VAT invoice. A VAT invoice will be issued upon request by You.
    3.10 Fares for taxis booked for You by the Company do not form part of the Price and are payable in cash to the driver on the day. If You cancel such a taxi with less than 24 hours notice, You may remain liable for the fare.
    4.1 Personal agreement and obligations
    The Hire Agreement is a personal one between You and the Company and Your identity and the identity of members of Your party are material factors in the Company’s decision to enter into the Agreement. You must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of booking and possess the legal capacity to make the booking. You must be authorised by all other members of Your party to enter into the Agreement and accept the Boat Hire Conditions on their behalf. The full names and permanent addresses of all members of Your party, with the ages of children, must be provided to the Company at the time of booking. All changes in Your party (the addition, substitution or removal of any member of the party) which take place at any time after the Booking Confirmation has been issued (including during the Hire Period) must be communicated in writing and approved by the Company (such approval is subject to these Conditions, but otherwise not to be unreasonably withheld). You are responsible for making all members of Your party aware of the terms of the Agreement.
    4.2 School parties, youth groups, hen or stag parties, business purposes
    The Company's general policy is that it will not enter into this Agreement for school parties, youth groups, hen or stag parties or for any commercial purpose without more information about the members of the party and the purpose and nature of the hire occasion. If the Company later becomes aware that Your party actually falls within this policy but that You have not disclosed it to the Company then the Company may terminate Your booking. In this event the Deposit and any other part of the Price which you have paid will be retained by the Company and You will remain liable to pay the balance of the Price.
    4.3 Medical issues
    if You or any member of Your Party has any medical problem or disability which may affect Your Booking, please use our Accessibility page to consider whether the Company’s boats and the waterways are suitable, before You make Your booking. The Company will do its best to give any further information requested, and recommends personal inspection. If the Company reasonably feels that it cannot meet that person’s particular needs, the Company may have to refuse or cancel Your booking.
    4.4 The use of alcohol and controlled drugs; Company’s right of immediate cancellation
    The Boat shall not be navigated while anyone on board is, or appears to be, under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the Company may cancel Your booking and refuse to hand the Boat over to You or repossess it if You or any member of Your party is or appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In such a case the Company shall be entitled to recover any loss, damage and expense from the monies already paid by You and if this is insufficient to cover its loss it shall be entitled to bring a claim against You for the balance of such claim.
    4.5 Company’s right to decline handover for safety reasons
    The Company may cancel Your booking and refuse to hand the Boat over to You if, in its reasonable opinion, You are unsuitable to take charge of the Boat for any reason that may adversely affect the safety of any person or property. In this event (and provided that You have fully complied with Your obligations under this Agreement) the Company will refund the Deposit and any other monies which You have paid to the Company and this Agreement shall be discharged without further liability on either party.
    4.6 Unreasonable Behaviour
    The Company can refuse to hand over the boat if the unreasonable behaviour of anyone in Your party is likely to cause offence to other guests, to members of staff or to waterway users, or if the Company has reasonable cause to believe You or any member of Your party will cause damage or loss to the boat, its services or facilities. If this happens, this Agreement between You and the Company will end and You will not receive any refund and the Company will not have any further responsibility to You. The Company can end a stay after the keys have been handed over, if the unreasonable behaviour of anyone in Your party (including anyone invited onto the boat or property by You) is likely to spoil the enjoyment, comfort or health of other guests, residents, waterway users or members of staff or where You or any member of Your party (or anyone invited on to the boat by you) has broken or is likely to break any of the Agreement, these Boat Hire Conditions, any applicable laws and regulations, or any other terms and conditions applicable to the boat which You have been told about. If this happens, You will have to leave the boat immediately and no refund will be given. You may also be responsible for any costs the Company incurs as a result of Your behaviour.
    4.7 Company’s right to repossess during the hire
    The Company may repossess the Boat at any time after commencement of the Hire Period if in the reasonable opinion of the Company You are unsuitable to be in charge of the Boat for any reason affecting the safety of any person or property including in particular if You or any member of Your party, or anyone invited onto the boat by You, is or appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if You are not behaving responsibly or if there has been a material breach of the terms of this Agreement.
    5.1 This Agreement is a legally binding contract and may only be cancelled in accordance with these Conditions.
    5.2 If You want to cancel Your Booking You must give the Company written notice (the “Cancellation Notice”). The date of receipt of the Cancellation Notice shall be the effective date of cancellation but in order to increase the prospects of re-letting the boat You should pre-advise the Company of any impending change or cancellation by email or telephone.
    5.3 Cancellation terms apply to the whole party and do not provide for partial refunds in the event of withdrawal by one or more members.
    5.4 The Company shall make the following charges for cancellation, depending on the date on which the Cancellation Notice is received:

    Days before Start Date when Cancellation Notice received

    Cancellation Charge

    More than 56

    Loss of Deposit


    50% of Price


    70% of Price


    85% of Price

    7 or less

    100% of Price

    5.5 If the Company re-lets the Boat to a new customer for the Hire Period or part of it then the proceeds will first be applied to make up any shortfall between the Cancellation Charge previously paid by You and the full Price of Your holiday.
    5.6 Any remainder not exceeding the total previously paid by You will be returned to You after deducting an administration fee of £50 for each replacement booking together with any commission paid to agents for re-letting the boat.
    5.7 Any holiday may be cancelled for any reason before 31 December the previous year and the Company will refund all monies paid less any commission paid to agents.
    6.1 The terms of this Agreement and any Booking Confirmation may only be varied with the express agreement of both parties and in accordance with these Conditions.
    6.2 If You wish to change details of Your booking so as to retain the same boat and Hire Period, the Company (acting reasonably) will try to accommodate the changes You request, save that the Company shall not be required to suffer any financial loss or to commit to any change which, in the reasonable opinion of the Company, is likely to result in a future loss of profit.  In the event that any change to your booking is agreed, the Company reserves the right to vary the Price in line with its published prices. Any adjusted Price will be shown on a re-issued Booking Confirmation.
    6.3 If you wish to transfer the booking to a different boat or hire period within the same calendar year, at its sole discretion and subject always to availability, the Company may agree to vary the Agreement.
    6.4 In the event that the Company agrees to vary the Hire Period or Boat shown in the Booking Confirmation, an administration fee of £20 will become payable by You and the Price will be adjusted in accordance with the Company’s published prices. Only one transfer is permitted. With reference to the Company’s published prices, no refunds shall be given if any agreed transfer would result in a lesser Price to that shown in the Booking Confirmation issued prior to any transfer.
    6.5 In the event that any such transfer is agreed in accordance with Clause 6.4, the Price (as adjusted) shall remain payable in accordance with Clause 3, save that the Price shall be paid no later than 6 weeks before the Start Date shown in the original Booking Confirmation issued prior to any transfer.

    7.1 The Company may cancel the Agreement by Written notice in the following circumstances:
    7.1.1 For any of the reasons described in this Agreement
    7.1.2 In the event of an accident affecting the safety or navigability of the boat
    7.1.3 For breach of any of the rules set out under Condition 10.1
    7.1.4 For non-payment of any sum due under the booking and/or this Agreement
    7.2 The Company is entitled to recover from You any loss which it suffers as a result of cancellation under any of the provisions of Condition 4 or for breach of Condition 10.1 and it may retain all or part of any payments which You have made as security for such claims. Subject to this if the Company is able to re-let the Boat for all or part of the Hire Period it will give credit for the net sums received as a result of such re-letting and shall prepare and submit to You an account of its claim and of any payment which may be due to You or to the Company within seven (7) days of the End Date.
    8.1 The Boat will normally be available between 1.00pm and 5.00pm on the Start Date from the base shown on the Booking Confirmation or in the case of one way trips as otherwise indicated to You, subject to the provisions of Condition 8.7.
    8.2. You must notify the Company as soon as possible if Your estimated arrival time is delayed or disrupted as this may lead to difficulties and delays in making the boat available to You. If you arrive late the Company may not be able to complete the handover till the following day. There will be no rebate of the Price for late arrival nor will the Company accept responsibility for any overnight costs which You may incur if you fail to reach the boat during normal working hours.
    8.3 Before You take the boat over the Company will give You such instructions, demonstrations and trials as are appropriate, and You will then be required to check and sign the Handover Certificate to indicate that these instructions and demonstrations have been understood.
    8.4 In the event that the boat is not available on the Start Date due to any circumstance for which the Company is not responsible (for example adverse weather or navigation conditions, damage, mechanical breakdown, late return by previous hirer) the Company may substitute a boat of similar accommodation or at a different location but if no such boat is available the Company shall refund You any payments You have made.
    8.5 The boat must be returned to the location specified by the Company or as otherwise shown on the Booking Confirmation or notified under Condition 8.7 and vacated by You by 9.30am on the End Date and it is Your responsibility to allow sufficient time to ensure timely return.
    8.6 If You return the boat late or to the wrong place because of poor planning on Your part or for another reason which is Your responsibility then You will be liable to pay £50 for every hour or part hour of the delay in returning the boat or giving possession and the cost of recovering the Boat to the return point and any other expenses and losses which the Company may incur as a result of the delay including the loss or cancellation of a subsequent booking.
    8.7 The Company reserves the right to change the place of handover and return for operational reasons. In such event the Company shall be obliged to give You written notice of the change in sufficient time (consistent with the circumstances) to allow any necessary re-planning of Your itinerary and to organise any transport which is reasonably necessary for You and Your party as a result of such change.

    9.1 The Company insures the boat and its equipment against physical loss and damage and against public liability risks. You are entitled to any protection that may be afforded by the Company's insurance policy (subject to Your paying any applicable policy excess) but You and members of Your party may become legally liable to the Company or to third parties for loss or damage caused or contributed to by Your deliberate or wilful acts or omissions.
    9.2 The Company's insurance policy excludes the first £500 of any claim.
    9.3 The Company's insurance policy does not cover personal accident or Your personal belongings. If You do not already have it, You are strongly advised to take out Your own personal insurance cover in respect of these risks.
    9.4 The Price includes a non-refundable Damage Waiver which covers the Company’s policy excess of £500 and any uninsured risks except where any loss or damage is caused by speeding or the deliberate or wilful act or omission of You or any member of Your party (including where the person concerned is under the influence of alcohol drugs or any similar substance) or any failure by You to comply with the Safety and Other Rules in Condition 10. In this case the Company has the right to make an additional charge (not exceeding £500) to cover wholly or in part such loss or damage.
    10.1 You agree to comply with the following rules at all times during the Hire Period:-
    10.1.1 To ensure that at all times while the boat is being navigated or is transiting locks or moveable structures the minimum age both of the operator on board and in charge, and of the person in charge of the lock or structure, is eighteen (18) years.
    10.1.2 Not to tow or be towed other than in exceptional circumstances.
    10.1.3 To moor the boat securely.
    10.1.4 Not to navigate after sunset or before sunrise.
    10.1.5 To observe all speed limits, to slow down when passing moored craft, and not to navigate at a speed which creates a breaking wash or disturbs or inconveniences other waterway users.
    10.1.6 Not to race the boat.
    10.1.7 Not to bring onto the boat any dinghies, inflatables, portable heaters, 230 volt electrical appliances rated at more than 1.0kw, inflammable liquids or substances, gas cylinders, firearms or any other items which might create danger or hazards unless expressly authorised. Canoes and bicycles may be kept on the boat roof providing that You place matting to protect the Boat's paintwork.
    10.1.8 Not to use the boat for any commercial purpose.
    10.1.9 To allow the boat to be occupied only by the persons named in the Booking Confirmation.
    10.1.10 Not to allow to be on the boat at any time more persons than the maximum number of berths and in no circumstances more than twelve (12) persons being the legal limit.
    10.1.11 To give way to laden or unladen cargo boats, sailing craft, canoes, rowing boats and other human-propelled craft.
    10.1.12 Not to take the boat onto sea or tidal waters without the written consent of the Company. To cruise only on canals and rivers approved by the Company.
    10.1.13 Not to have or carry any live bait on the boat.
    10.1.14 At all times to observe and abide by all regulations, byelaws and navigational limits and abide by the instructions and advice of the relevant Navigation Authorities and the Company and their respective officers and employees.
    10.2 The Company reserves the right at its reasonable discretion and without liability to restrict cruising areas or routes in the light of prevailing weather and navigation conditions.
    11.1 You are in charge of the boat and are responsible for its safe navigation. In the event of any accident or damage involving You or any other people or any property You must:-
    11.1.1 Obtain and record the name of any other boats and the names and addresses of any other people involved on the form provided by the Company (when available);
    11.1.2 Notify the Company as soon as practically possible with full details of the accident and any damage sustained;
    11.1.3 Proceed in accordance with and follow the Company's reasonable instructions;
    11.1.4 Not in any circumstances admit or allow any other person on the boat to admit liability to any other person.
    12.1 You are responsible for and will keep the boat and its equipment and contents in clean and tidy order during the Hire Period.
    12.2 You must notify and provide full details to the Company of any breakdown, damage, theft or loss involving the boat as soon as practically possible. You must not undertake or commission any repairs, adjustment or service without the Company's prior approval.
    12.3 Although the boat and its equipment are insured by the Company against many risks You remain responsible to the Company for any damage or loss arising from Your breach of this Agreement or from Your deliberate or wilful acts or omissions.
    12.4 You shall be responsible for getting the boat off mud banks or other grounding and for removal of weeds, rope or other matter from propellers and steering gear and for keeping the Company informed of any incidents of this nature.
    13.1 The Company reserves the right at any time to board the Boat to inspect it (including but not limited to where You have complained about the Boat). If this happens, the Company will try to give You reasonable notice first. You agree to allow the Company or their representative(s) or contractor(s) immediate access to the boat at any time.
    14.1 Vehicles may be left at their owners' risk in the Company's car park or car parks made available for You by others. The Company will be under no liability for any loss or damage to vehicles or their contents or for Your property on the Boat or elsewhere unless caused by the Company's negligence.
    14.2 The Company may take such reasonable action as it shall consider necessary to silence car alarms in the Company's car park and to recover the costs from You. This is inclusive of any requirements and obligations under the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993 and/or under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and/or any other relevant legislation.
    14.3 The Company will return property which it finds which has been accidentally left on the Boat provided that it is claimed promptly and that You either arrange for its collection or agree to pre-pay for any postage and packing. Property not claimed within one month from the End Date may be disposed of by the Company.
    15. FUEL
    15.1 The boat is handed over ready fuelled and the Price includes the cost of fuel consumed. The Company reserves the right to make an additional charge for fuel consumed in exceptionally long journeys.
    15.2 The Company may make a fuel surcharge if the cost of diesel at Tesco Brighouse increases by 10% or more, or Fuel Duty is increased, between the date of the Booking Confirmation and the Start Date. The surcharge shall be limited to the actual percentage increase in the cost of diesel consumed.
    16. PETS
    16.1 Pets are allowed on the Boat only with the Company's permission. You shall give notice of any pets You wish to bring at the time of making the booking.
    16.2 The Company's charges for pets are set out in the brochure.
    16.3 You must provide any pet baskets or blankets.
    16.4 All pets must be properly house trained or caged as appropriate, must never be left unattended and may not be allowed on bedding or seats.
    16.5 Pets and pet damage are not covered under the Company's insurance policy and You will be liable for any damage or loss caused by them or extra cleaning required.
    17.1 You will be required to sign for the inventory on taking the boat over. Any shortcomings discovered during the Hire Period must be notified to the Company as soon as practically possible so as to afford the Company the opportunity to rectify the matter.
    18.1 The Company shall not be liable to pay any compensation, damages, costs or expenses for any claim arising from any cause beyond the Company’s reasonable control which could not have been mitigated or avoided by the Company including but not limited to:
    18.1.1 loss of or damage to any person's property (including the boat);
    18.1.2 non-fulfilment, interruption or delay to the booking;
    18.1.3 breakdowns, mechanical problems, latent defects, damage to the Boat;
    18.1.4 restrictions on cruising, obstructions, repairs, damage or closure of waterways, non-availability of routes, navigational works, storms, floods, droughts, ice, shortage of water or other weather or climatic conditions;
    18.1.5 rationing, shortage or non-availability of fuel;
    18.1.6 consequential loss, damage or expense which You incur including the cost of alternative transport, accommodation or other holiday provision.
    18.2 The Company's total liability to You and any person claiming through You in respect of all claims which may arise under this Agreement (other than in respect of claims which cannot be excluded or limited at law, such as claims for death or personal injury) shall be limited in aggregate to twice the Price actually paid by You to the Company in respect of the Agreement in question.
    18.3 To the extent that the terms of this Agreement contradict any laws on consumer rights, the rights conferred on any party who is a consumer shall remain unaffected.
    19. BROCHURE
    19.1 The specifications of boats, their accommodation, facilities and equipment in the brochure or website are intended as a general guide and the Company shall not be liable in the event of any insubstantial differences in the boats supplied and reserves the right to make modifications. In particular alterations may occur during rebuilding or refitting, boats within classes may differ, colours may vary, layout plans are for guidance only and are not to scale and boats may have steps which are not shown. If Your party includes any infirm or disabled persons You should make relevant enquiries at the time of booking - see Accessibility.
    20.1 If You have any special requests, You must let the Company know when You make the booking and confirm Your special requests in writing. The Company cannot guarantee that any request will be met.
    21.1 You must contact the Company immediately if any problem arises so that it can be resolved as quickly as possible. It is often extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to resolve difficulties properly unless You let the Company know promptly. If, after this, You feel that the problem has not been resolved to your satisfaction, You may, within thirty (30) days of returning from Your trip, provide the Company with a written complaint. The Company has a procedure to make sure it can resolve complaints as quickly as possible. Please help the Company to help You by following this procedure. If You fail to do so, this may affect Your entitlement to claim compensation if this would be appropriate. Should Your Complaint remain unresolved after following the procedure under this Clause, you may raise the complaint with British Marine (“BM”), who operate a procedure for complaints received regarding current BM members – see Clause 25.
    22.1 A person who is not a party to this Agreement shall have no right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 to enforce any term of this Agreement.
    23.1 To process Your booking the Company will need to collect and process personal information. For more detailed information, please see the Company’s Privacy Policy.
    24.1 This Agreement and any non-contractual obligations arising out of, or in connection with, this Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law.
    24.2 Subject to Clause 25, You and the Company irrevocably agree that any and every dispute (and any non-contractual obligations) arising out of or in connection with this Agreement shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.
    25.1 Disputes arising out of or in connection with this Agreement, when they cannot be resolved by negotiation, may, with the written agreement of the Parties, first be submitted to mediation under BM’s Dispute Resolution Scheme. Details of the scheme are available on request from BM.

    Shire Cruisers, The Wharf, Sowerby Bridge HX6 2AG, England
    Britannia Narrow Boats Ltd registered in England & Wales 01462318
    tel: 01422 832712 Overseas tel: + 44 1422 832712

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