Rental houseboats without a license in France and Europe

Allemand Anglais Français

1 – How is it possible to rent a houseboat without a boat licence?

In fact renting a riverboat does not require a boat licence. French law decrees that a licence is not required for recreational boats whose length is less than or equal to 15meters and whose engine power does not exceed the ratio proportional to its size. The engines of all our houseboats are limited, which does not affect the navigation in anyway as the speed is often limited to 6 or 8km/h, and none of our fleet exceeds 15meters in length.In the other countries, where we operate, the law is different but it is still possible to rent a houseboat without a permit.

2 – Do I need to have any navigational experience to rent a houseboat? Will I be capable of manoeuvring a pleasure boat?

Our boats are all specially designed for river navigation and no special skills are required to pilot them. When you arrive on the day of departure the technical team will show you around the houseboat and explain how to function the key devices. They will also explain how to navigate on the inland waterways.The navigation of our boats is very simple; there is one gear stick, with a drive gear and a reverse gear. With a little patience and gentleness as you pass through your first few locks and you’ll be a great captain in no time.

3 – How do you manoeuvre your boat when you cross a barge or another houseboat?

You usually navigate down the centre of the waterway, however when you come across another boat, you have to move to the right and cruise slowly along close to the shoreline. When you come to a canal bridge or a narrow navigation area priority goes to the larger boat, and commercial barges always have priority. Be vigilant and don’t forget to look behind you in case another boat is travelling faster than you and wishes to pass.

4 – What conduct should I adopt when there are fishermen along the waterways?

When you pass a fisherman you need to slow down as much as possible in order to avoid agitating the water near the banks too much. By remaining alert and watching out for their lines you will win their respect and everyone will be happy.

5 – How do I plan my route? What is the speed of a pleasure boat and how many kilometres can I do in a day?

The normal cruising speed of a yacht is about 8km/h and on average it takes 20minutes to pass a lock. If you plan to use about 4 to 6hours a day you will cover a distance of between 30 and 40km, not including the time spent at each lock. Therefore you will need to consider all that while planning which route to take and how many days to spend on the boat.

6 – Can I sail at night?

River navigation at night is prohibited because of the difficulty related to manoeuvring in the dark. Also locks are only open during the day; hence your river navigation depends on the sun.

7 – How long does it take to pass a lock?

The time is takes to pass a lock depends on several factors, including the amount of traffic, but on average it takes about 20minutes.