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Self-drive day boat hire and charter in England is given the green light by DEFRA

Published on: 11 June 2020

Self-drive day boat hire and charter in England is given the green light by DEFRA

British Marine is pleased to share the latest COVID-19 guidance for inland and coastal boating in England published by DEFRA today. Following the relaxation of lockdown measures, further clarification has been released detailing that from today self-drive boat hire or charter companies can operate again on a day basis. The public will be allowed to hire or charter a boat for a day with people from their own household or support bubble. Businesses will need appropriate social distancing measures in place, including during boat handovers. Boats must be cleaned thoroughly between users.


Skippered day-boat hire and charters remain unable to operate, and overnight stays are also not permitted. Tourist and trip boat operators must also remain closed.


As part of British Marine’s ongoing COVID-19 work to help our members and the industry get back to business, a guidance document for hire boat and charter operations has been published. The guide can be used as an aid for businesses to become COVID-secure before re-opening.


Lesley Robinson, British Marine CEO, comments; “It is fantastic news for self-drive day boat hire and charter businesses in England, and we await to hear more news from the devolved administrations. Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, British Marine has been working with DEFRA to represent day hire marine businesses and their timely return to safe operations. Our efforts will now redouble on holiday hire and charter companies that include overnight stays to ensure they can operate as soon as possible, along with the opening of other areas of the hospitality and tourism sectors. This will allow these businesses to take advantage of the remaining summer season.”


Paul Clark, Manager of Kris Cruisers on the Thames, adds; “To get the green light from DEFRA to start hiring our day boats is a huge relief. As a seasonal business only operating between April and October, any income we have received since November last year has mostly been refunded due to cancelled bookings. We can now start to rebuild our business and we look forward to seeing some old and new faces back into our boatyard.”


Alex Dunn, Chief Instructor at Hamble Point Yacht Charters, is also pleased; “It is great news that those who love to sail but are not boat owners are now able to safely get back on the water and enjoy the benefits of Solent sailing and the great outdoors. This is a potential lifeline for our business and will mean that we can now bring some of our furloughed employees back to work. We have had our risk assessment ready and new procedures poised to go live for some time in order to ensure the safety of our customers and staff, so we are ready and waiting to safely commence operations for day sails in this new environment.”


The published Government guidance can be read in full here.

For members wishing to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on COVID-19, please visit our dedicated Coronavirus Hub.