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How to rent a boat on the river with no licence ?

You are looking how to rent a boat on the river without any licence ? Here is a little guide that should help you. First of all by explaining what do we call a self-drive hire boat. But also by helping you putting up your project together. 

What defines a "self drive hire boat" ?

First of all, the term “self drive boat” is a simplification that hides a bigger complexity.  Indeed, take any boat from a rental boat company : you can be pretty sure it is a boat that normally requires a licence. Because of its size and/or its engine power. Indeed, as soon as you exceed 6 horsepower, a licence is normally mandatory (that is to say, almost the entirety of boats that you would find).

That is where a “charter” comes in to light. This term describes an enterprise (renter) that obtained a certificate allowing it to train crews and provide them a temporary licence.

Of course, charters cannot rent anything, anywhere and must respect a number of criterias. An easy to sail area, without strong wind nor current or any difficulties regarding commercial boats, etc … What is called in the business a “protected inland area”.

Whereas the process might slightly change from one charter to another, the founding principle stays the same : a training upon departure. This training will go over the essential of what you need to navigate safely.

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How to rent a boat on the river ?

Reach an licenced charter. Driving is authorized from the age of 16 years old and a training must be completed with the charter to obtain a temporary licence. Make sure to also check the charter’s terms and conditions that could add other requests. Most of the time, another adult and a deposit would be required.

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Useful tips before renting a self drive boat

Pick the right crew !

Before renting your boat, here is a fundamental worth preparing ! It is advised to have at least two people physically able : to drive of course but most importantly to moor the boat and helping forevery manoeuver. A good physical condition is strongly advised.

Also, remember navigating is an adventure that is done in minimalistic living quarters, not comparable to the comfort and space of one’s house. So make sure to properly accomodate the heavy snorers, bathroom squatters and energetic children altogether !

Finally, to ensure a serene experience, it is advised to embark an adapted number of adults compared to the number of children onboard. In order to have a proper supervision even while some adults are occupied doing manoeuvers.

Choose your boat and the navigation area

Once your fellow sailor are proudly chosen, it is time to find the right ship for this adventure ! Get information from your charter and do not hesitate to give details about your crew to help her/him offer you adapted solutions.

But also, share what kind of visit you are willing to do, what kind of trip you are expecting to have. Is it simply to get a chance to gather the family ? Or do you like seeing historical landmarks ? Maybe wineyards visits ? Etc … A good charter should be able to help you out in these matters as well.

Choose the right charter / renter !

Since the renewal of interest around boat rental, a number of agencies broke out everywhere, from the hardened professionnals to the opportunist businesses … Sometime with agressive business model to attract the maximum of customers through Internet, often lacking transparency regarding who really owns the boat advertised, etc …

It is not always easy to see the difference between real charters and call center middlemen.

Take the time to check adresses and the precision of information given. By reaching the charter directly, you are sure to get expert advices on all the questions you have.

Before leaving : the last few details that matter !

A few days before your adventure, it is time to put the finishing touches to your preparation !

First of all by having (at least) a rough idea of the area you plan to explore. Check a few cruise suggestion by clicking here.

Then, by preparing your luggages properly : click here to get a checklist before casting off.

And finally, make sure you know what kind of training you are expected to undertake on the D-day. A beginner apprentice properly informed is worth a hundred overconfident hardened sailors ! Click here to see an online initiation.

All that is left to do now : schedule an appointment for your crew ! Do not hesitate to reach your charter to check any last details and make an appointment for your arrival !

Need anything else on how to get a boat ?