Your arrival… and when you get back

Keeping everyone as safe as possible while at our bases.

The following arrival and return procedures have been carefully reviewed and adapted to make your arrival as hassle-free as possible and to prevent the spread of coronavirus at our bases and on our boats. Please don’t travel to our bases if you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus otherwise you risk not being allowed on board your boat. For more about this and for details about our flexible rebooking terms, which would apply in these circumstances, visit our Coronavirus FAQs.


For other measures we’ve taken at our bases and on our boat – visit our ‘Covid Safety Charter’ 


Prepare for check-in

Preparing for check-in

Our base staff are looking forward to welcoming you to their cruising region and making your arrival experience and vacation 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 member 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

We have changed our base opening hours so that we are more available throughout the day and at times that suit our customers. This also helps spread out arrivals, allowing us to more effectively manage social distancing measures at our bases.


For early check-ins (if prebooked) you should arrive from 11am. For standard check-ins you should arrive FROM 2pm. We will try to stagger arrivals to reduce the amount of customers on site at any one time and enable us to get you settled on board as quickly as possible. To help us achieve this, you must confirm your expected arrival time when you complete the online Guest Information Form, which must be completed at least 7 days before you depart. Our base team will try to call you sometime in the week prior to your departure to reconfirm when you should aim to arrive. They may ask you to arrive slightly earlier or later, depending on the number of other departures the same day. We ask that you stick as closely to your agreed arrival time as possible.


After you arrive, we’ll need to spend some time with you completing the check in processes and we will then advise you when you can expect you pre-departure boat briefing to take place. You won’t be able to leave the dockside straight away. In fact most customers will be unable to leave until early evening or, in some cases, the following morning, but we’ll get you set up and ready to go as soon as possible.


Arriving after hours?





Upon arrival, you should report to reception using our floor markings as a guide to keep a safe 2m distance from others. The number of guests allowed in reception is limited to one per booking and, at our bases with smaller receptions, only one customer in total will be allowed in reception at any given time – please be guided by base staff on arrival. A facemask must be worn if local government officially states you must. The rest of your party should remain in your vehicle or outside and away from others until directed otherwise. We will endeavour to get you on to your boat as quickly as possible.


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. if not already done so by phone, 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. Pens and card transaction machines will be disinfected after each use.


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.


The technician will do all they can to maintain a safe distance during the demonstration, however this is not always possible. As such, they will wear gloves and a face mask throughout the briefing, and will disinfect anything they touch during the demonstration. Your nominated Captain and 2nd-in-charge must also wear a face mask, during the briefing, for the safety of our team. The remaining crew members will be required to wait away from the boat and dockside, while maintaining a safe distance from others, until the briefing has finished. Your technician will tell you where to wait.


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.
  • essential safety information
  • 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.





Late arrival procedure

If you are going to be arriving at the base after 16:00, please inform the base directly so we can make sure everything is prepared for your arrival. If you arrive later than 17:00, 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.




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.


Vacation surveys

Feedback about your vacation and the service we have provided are very important to us. We kindly ask that you complete our vacation questionnaire while on board and return it to a designated post box in our reception areas when you check out, They won’t be handled by our team for at least 72 hours and it may take a week or more before they are processed.

Boat handover preparation

Preparing your boat for handover

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 cases 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 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. Only one member of your party will be allowed in reception and a facemask must be worn if local government officially states you must. The rest of your party should wait in your vehicle or outside away from other.


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. To reduce the risk of infection, only card payments can be accepted.


Please report any incidents or damage to the boat, and tell us if anyone on board has displayed any Coronavirus related symptoms during your cruise so that we may isolate your boat before it is used again.