Frequently asked questions

If you don’t find the answer to your question here, contact our bookings team on 01923 723819 (Option 1).

Where do boat trips start from?

We are based on the Grand Union Canal in Hertfordshire, just south of Hemel Hempstead.  The address is Nash Mills Recreation Centre, Nash Mills Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP3 9TE.  Access to the site is via a narrow lane but there is plenty of car parking space at the Boat Base.

How do I make a booking?

Contact the Bookings team on 01923 723819 (Option 1).  We are all volunteers, but there is a rota ensuring that you can speak to a member of the team every weekday during normal working hours.  If they don’t answer right away, it might be because they’re out and about (multi-tasking!), but they’ll call you back if you leave a message.

Or you can email your requirements .

How far ahead do you need to book a trip?

We are a totally voluntary organisation. Please give  us notice to organise a crew for you – ideally at least 4 weeks before your preferred date.

Do you run trips every day?

Boats  are available for hire every day (except Christmas Day & New Years Day) but we don’t provide a scheduled ‘turn up & pay’ service like trains or buses.  We hire the boat with a crew to a group for a day, half day or summer evening.

How easy is the access to the boats for people with mobility difficulties?

Access to the boats is down a slope – we have wheelchairs and walking aids for people who need extra help.

All boats are designed to be suitable for people with limited mobility.  They have ramps and lifts and easily accessible toilets, big enough for wheelchairs. We can take a maximum of six wheelchairs at any time on the larger boat; four on Close Shave & Sheldrake II.

We have a mobile hoist available – you must, however, be familiar with its use and bring your own slings.

How many boats do you operate?

We have three boats.  Close Shave & Sheldrake II take 12 passengers and Sheldrake III will take up to 40, although it is much more comfortable with 35.

How far do the boats go during a trip?

A day trip, typically 10.00 – 17.00, will go as far as Winkwell to the North or Grove Mill going South.     See this map

A half-day trip of up to 4 hours will get to Rose’s Wharf  (B & Q) in the North or Hunton Bridge in the South.

What is provided on the boats?

There is drinking water on all the boats.

Kitchens are equipped with a full-size cooker and fridge, also a microwave.

The 12-passenger boats have crockery and cutlery for 15.

Sheldrake 3 has crockery and cutlery for 40.

All boats have cooking pans, baking trays, serving dishes and utensils with wine glasses and extra equipment available at the Base.

We provide towels and tea towels, tea, coffee, sugar, squash, sauces and condiments – we ask you to bring milk.

There is a music system on all boats – feel free to bring your own CDs, or IPod & lead.

Catering on board is your responsibility – the crew will gladly assist if circumstances permit.

We can arrange for a local fish and chip shop to deliver to the boat. Orders to be placed on the day, via the skipper. Cash with order, please.  The cost of the Fish & Chips is NOT INCLUDED in the trip price. The shop chips are prepared on the premises from fresh potatoes – they do not have a gluten coating.

There are pubs in both directions where you can stop if you would like, by pre arrangement with the Bookings team or the skipper.

Do you provide a crew?

Yes, boats have a skipper and 2 or 3 crew, depending on the number of passengers. The skipper will advise you on the best places to get on and off the boat safely.

We are happy for passengers to help at locks, but please read our safety information.  And you must always follow the crew’s instructions.

We want to hire a boat for a special party.  Can we decorate it before the trip?

If you want to come earlier to decorate the boat for a special occasion, please ask the Bookings team.

Can we have a look at the boats before booking?

You are welcome to come and look over the boats before making a booking. Please contact the Bookings team to arrange a suitable appointment.

Can we bring alcohol?

Alcohol is allowed on board but only for responsible drinking.

Is smoking permitted on board

Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is NOT PERMITTED on the boats or at the Boat Base.

Do you provide buoyancy aids

Yes,, they are available for any passengers, and we strongly recommend them for under-14’s.

How much do trips cost?

Click here for the price list.  Note the special rates for priority groups.  The Bookings team will advise you.

What payment methods do you offer?

Payment is by cheque or bank transfer – at the moment we have no facilities to pay by card. We require a deposit of 20% within two weeks of billing, with the balance due 4 weeks before the trip date. Bank account details are included on the invoice.

What are the booking terms and conditions?

They’re published here and are also sent with your invoice.

Please leave the boat clean and tidy after your trip.