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Hire Boat and Yacht Charter

On the 22nd of February, the UK government published its roadmap with key dates for the easing and ultimately ending restrictions placed on businesses and consumers due to COVID-19. Following discussions with DEFRA the marine industry has published a table to show how each of the sectors are affected by these dates, the full table can be found on the back to business main page.


Hire Boats will fall into one of three categories in the table shown below each clearly labelled as day hire i.e. vessels only hired for at most a day, holiday hire such as narrow boats and widebeams and bareback yacht charter with accommodation for hiring for more than a day at a time and skippered vessels for rib rides and non-bareback yacht charter. It should be noted that these dates apply only to England as the devolved nations are setting their own timetables, information on each devolved nation can be found on the British Marine websites.


The dates shown below are subject to the government reviews at each stage and could change, this document will be updated as necessary with the latest advice from government.


COVID secure protocols must be in place, including social distancing increased cleaning regimes and track and trace polices at all release dates up until the end on the restrictions currently scheduled for June 21st.*This has now been delayed until the 19th July*.






12th April


Day Boat Hire – Hire of all vessels is permitted. If the vessel is open then the rule of six/two households can book per vessel. If the vessel has an enclosure/cabin that the customer can access then only a single household/bubble can hire the vessel.

Holiday Hire – This is now permitted for single households/bubble per vessel. Operators should check at the point of booking that all hirers are from the same household.

Skippered Vessels – These can now operate but only if they are open to the air i.e. there are no enclosures/cabins on the vessel that the customer can access during the trip. The rule of six/2 households per group is applied. Food and beverages can be served to seated hirers in open air vessels. No food or beverage can be served during the trip in enclosures and cabins.


17th May


Day hire boats – Hire of all vessels is permitted. If the vessel is open then the are no restrictions (other than the vessels licencing/certification restrictions) on number of hirers or the number of households the group can be from. If the vessel has an enclosure/cabin accessible by the hirer then the rule of six/two households per vessel applies.

Holiday Hire – These operations can run again using the rule of six i.e. a single household of any size can hire the vessel or six people from a maximum of two households per vessel.

Skippered Vessels – These vessels are now permitted to operate, if the vessel is open to the air there are no restrictions on the number of hirers other than that that social distancing allows and the vessels certification/licence. If the vessel has an enclosure available to the hirers then the rule of six/2 households applies. Food and beverage can be served at the hirers seats.


21st June *Now delayed until 19th July*

Restrictions across all vessel hire are lifted, operations can return to normal and COVID secure protocols no longer need to be implemented.