Updated 18 May 2020
In common with other holiday providers, we had to close on 23 March. All being well, we plan to reopen on 4 July, in accordance with government guidance. The boats are all ready, and our team is poised like a coiled spring ready to get going as soon as the government gives the word. Meanwhile, you can get in touch with us by email and phone as normal, and use our online availability system to book for this year or next.
The canals are safe
Right now, the canals are being reopened, and will be fully available for private boats on 1 June. However, commercial operations and overnight stays (other than on residential boats) are not yet permitted. We hope the government will soon confirm its provisional date of 4 July for accommodation. There is an outside chance that we may get a slightly earlier release.
We do not know whether/when the rules will be altered, but as things stand it seems possible that only single households will be allowed to share an overnight boat, at least to start with.
A boating holiday is an open-air adventure. The Yorkshire canals and rivers are uncrowded. You share the boat only with family or friends (if permitted). You can bring food with you, or shop in small shops in small towns, or in supermarkets close to your boat. You do not have to mix with strangers on the towpath any more than if you went out for a walk at home.
The government has indicated that pubs and restaurants may be allowed to reopen from July, possibly for outdoor drinking and with reduced indoor seating. Some are already doing takeway meals. We will research this nearer the time and give you the best information we can - and will appreciate your feedback to pass on to others.
We are now confident that, when we are allowed to send the boats out, you will also be allowed to travel to us - at least within England.
The government will no doubt continue to revise its advice for people of a certain age, or with certain health conditions. There is also advice about meeting family and friends. It's for you to evaluate that advice.
We take every care to clean the boats so that they will be safe for our visitors. The virus does not like soap and water, so thorough cleaning is effective. We put cleaning materials on board, so that you can clean as you wish. If you want to clean anything again, as you get on board, we shall not be in the least offended. At the end of your holiday, please take extra care with cleaning the boat, particularly hard surfaces. We provide bedding, but if you prefer to bring your own, that's fine - please let us know on your Yellow Form.
We are in the process of redesigning our handover system so as to preserve social distancing. This will seem odd, but we will make it as natural as possible. We shall still provide the very personal service in which our staff take pride. More details later.
If a member of your party shows Coronavirus symptoms during your trip, please let us know before you get back to the yard.
We are working closely with colleagues in other firms and with British Marine and Canal & River Trust, and keep up with government advice as it changes.
Peace of mind
We are trying to be fair to you, and have gone beyond our normal Boat Hire Conditions to give you further protection during the pandemic.
Existing bookings for 2020
We have written to all customers due to start before the end of May, making individual arrangements for each party. We have also contacted customers with later holidays who were due to come from overseas. We are about to start on the first half of June.
We are asking UK customers with holidays from mid-June onwards to hold on in the hope that we can provide the holidays as booked. We will study the three-week reviews and other government announcements and contact you as things change.
Meanwhile, we ask you not to pay the balance until we can see that we will be operating on your start date. If you have paid your balance, you will not be disadvantaged.
If it becomes clear that we cannot operate on a given date, we will offer to defer the holiday to later in 2020, or to 2021 - subject to availability. A new date can be set, or left floating. We would retain the deposit against the future holiday. We will not charge a transfer fee. If the new dates have a different price, we will charge or refund as appropriate.
The last option, if moving the holiday isn’t feasible, is that we will cancel and refund what you have paid.
If we can operate but you don't come
Depending on the reason, we will treat this differently.
1 If we can operate but you cannot come because one of your party contracts the virus, we will cancel and give a full refund.
2 If we can operate but you choose not to come for another reason, e.g. you prefer not to leave home, or the pubs are closed, then we will cancel and retain your 20% deposit, but not retain or seek any part of the balance as set out in Condition 5.
3 If we can operate but you are unable to take your holiday for a 'normal' reason e.g. broken leg, then the normal cancellation procedure in Condition 5 will apply. You may lose part of your balance unless we are able to relet.
New bookings for 2020
We are taking new bookings for holidays starting from 4 July. This is obviously subject to our being able to operate on the holiday date. To remove the financial risk to you, we undertake to repay all you have paid if we are unable to provide the boat.
If we can operate but you for any reason don't come, then we will apply the graded procedure in 'Existing bookings' above.
Alternatively, we offer an 'Expression of Interest' scheme, in which you can pencil in a booking without obligation on either side, till you feel ready to pay a deposit and make the booking firm.
We are taking bookings for 2021 as normal. We look forward to seeing you!
If you already have holiday insurance, for example through a credit card or company scheme, then we would ask you first to claim through that insurance, before asking us to refund any shortfall.
We do not provide or sell cancellation insurance.