Frequently Asked Questions
Things to be aware of when booking
- Is size important? - Tarporley is 72' (nearly 22m) long and 7' wide; she can carry ONLY 12 passengers. ‘Babes in arms’ do not count. Nine or 10 adults can sit outside at the front, in the well-deck. Everyone can be outside all the time, if they want, sitting and standing. Equally, there is plenty of room inside, and seating for 12 in the front cabin. There is background heating for any cold periods.
- When/ where can we start? - We usually start from King’s Place [KP] between 10am and 11am for a full day trip (approx 6 hours). Afternoon trips normally start at 2pm and finish at 5pm. Three hour evening trips start no later than 6.30pm. If you want something different, please contact the Bookings Officer to discuss, but bear in mind that, for any ‘one-way’ trips, we have to charge for the return trip too.
- Where can we go? - This depends largely on the time available – please see our interactive map. The most popular day out is to Little Venice, Paddington, W9 and back. Others go to Victoria Park, Old Ford, E3 and back. Please be aware, as we are 72' long we are limited as to where we can turn around.
- Can you take us on the river? - The Thames tideway has to be taken seriously. When we take Tarp on the Thames, it is part of a 3-day round trip – KP to Limehouse, up the river to Brentford, then up the Grand Union to Bull’s Bridge and on to Paddington, before returning to KP on the Regent’s Canal. This has to be carefully planned in detail; timings for the river transit are dictated by the tides: if it is of interest to you, please let us know, but be prepared for us to tell you when and how this could be done. Cost in the region of £1,000, for private hire; discounted rate for any community group.
- What should I wear? - Outdoor clothing, appropriate to the time of year and current weather forecast and a little warmer than usual as it is colder on water, and flat shoes, preferably with a sole that doesn’t slip on hard wet surfaces. We have buoyancy aids; these may be issued and worn, or not, at the discretion of the customer, except on the tidal river, where they are compulsory.
- Food and drink. - We do not provide food, though tea and coffee are available. Do bring whatever you want and do cook aboard. Our galley or kitchen has a fridge [with icebox], gas cooker, hot water and a large worktop - BUT no microwave onbard. All manner of crockery, cutlery, glasses and cooking utensils are available (we do expect you to do your own washing-up).
- Alcohol - Responsible social drinking is perfectly acceptable. Drunkenness is, however, completely unacceptable and uncontrolled behaviour would risk the premature discontinuation of the trip. Recreational drugs of any other kind are not permitted on board. Smoking tobacco is permitted only out of doors – i.e. nowhere inside the boat, regardless of the prevailing weather conditions.
- Limited mobility? - Because Tarp is an ex-working boat and was converted for use as community boat 30 years ago, the basic layout is not suitable for anyone unable to negotiate a few steps up and down without assistance. Unfortunately so she is not suitable for most wheelchair-users unless very agile and/or your companions will assist you fully.
- Self-Drive? - Can we hire the boat without crew ? Unfortunately not – Tarp is a lovely old boat is 23 tonnes and has a will of her own, and the vintage features include controls which require the simultaneous use of all 3 hands! You are very welcome to have a go steering, under the supervision of our experienced skippers, all of whom have NCBA CCBM qualifications. We will have at least one other volunteer aboard to help on every trip as well. [Crew members don’t count in the calculation of ‘up to 12 passengers’]. More info on safe boat handling here
- Hotel accommodation? - We do not provide 'hotel accommodation' and Tarporley is not a houseboat, although we do run overnight residential trips on Tarporley, for as long as you want, subject to availability.
- Safety is always a paramount consideration. Every trip starts with a short safety-briefing. The skipper is responsible for your safety, the safety of the crew and the safety of the boat – for the duration of the booking, therefore, the skipper is in command and his/her requests and instructions must be fully and promptly complied with.
- Should I be worried about the risk of getting Weil's Disease? The chances of contracting this disease are very low – but if the illness is contracted, and not diagnosed at an early stage, the consequences are usually serious, and sometimes fatal. It is an infection caused by bacteria carried in rats’ urine, which can contaminate water in and around lakes, ponds, ditches, sewers, rivers and canals. Unless you get wet, you don’t have to worry – it is more of a concern for the skipper and crew. However, if you do handle wet ropes, and/or immerse your hands, feet, or any other part of your body, it is important to wash the relevant part(s) thoroughly, as soon as possible afterwards. If you were to fall into the water, shower and change your clothes. Infection is unlikely unless contaminated water has got into the eyes, nose or mouth, or comes into contact with broken skin, etc. For more info click here
- Where does everybody sleep on a residential booking? There are four single bunks in the front cabin and eight in the back; we have curtains to divide or screen off the front area, if required. Customers have to bring their own bedding, though our cushions can double up as pillows. The skipper/crew member(s) sleep in a completely separate cabin, right at the back of the boat.
- Have a great time! - and please do let us have your comments afterwards - the skipper should give you a monitoring form or we can send you one by email.