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UK holiday rentals have seen a surge in demand amid the ever-changing travel rules, as many Britons resigned themselves to not going abroad this summer. While cottages and hotels in popular destinations such as Cornwall, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands fill up, there are still some unique options available.
The answer is on the water. Indeed, boating holidays may sound like a privilege lent only to those who own their own boat.
However, thanks to the “Airbnb of boats”, Britons could enjoy their own Great British staycation on the water this summer.
Borrow A Boat is one of the largest boat charter marketplaces in the world, and certainly in the UK, with over 35,000 boats available for charter in more than 65 countries.
Matt Ovenden, CEO of Borrow A Boat, says the firm aims to make boating more “accessible, affordable, flexible, and inclusive”.
What’s more, it can also offer a one-of-a-kind UK holiday, shaking up the typical cottage stay or camping trip.
“We help people experience unique trips on the water, while also helping boat owners offset the high costs associated with maintenance and marina fees,” Mr Ovenden told Express.co.uk.
Whether you’re an avid boater or a first-time sailor, there are plenty of options.
“The website makes it simple to rent a boat: choose your location, add in your preferred travel dates, decide if you want a skipper or want to travel bareboat (non-skippered) and submit your request to the boat owner,” explained Mr Ovenden.
“The boat owner then reviews the opportunity and accepts the booking.
“After this, you can pay 50 percent to secure the booking for 30 days or pay the full amount upfront.
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“The owner and renter stay in contact about the meeting point or pick up ready for departure and then set sail on their adventure.”
Regardless of if you want to experience a quintessentially British canal boat adventure or enjoy a taste of luxury onboard a yacht, Borrow a Boat caters to an array of tastes.
Mr Ovenden added: “Trips can be hourly, daily, seven, 14 or 28 days, or even longer.”
Those who have commandeered a boat in the past have the flexibility to direct their own adventure.
Meanwhile, there is also the option to hire a skipper, meaning inexperienced sailors need not worry about having adequate boating licenses.
Mr Ovenden explained: “Beginner sailors must hire a boat with a skipper on board, but if you have a sailing licence you can also charter the boats “bareboat” to drive yourself.
“If you’d prefer to navigate and sail yourself then you will need the relevant qualifications such as RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or the ASA 104 Bareboat certificate to take a boat bareboat. Motorboats under 30ft will need RYA Powerboat Level 2.
“Small ‘day boats’ typically don’t require licences.”
He added: “There’s also a wide range of canal boats and riverboats to choose from, so you don’t necessarily need to sail in open waters or along the coast – rivers, lakes and canals are good options for novices.”
Whether you captain your own boat or hire a skipper, Mr Ovenden says holidaymakers are able to tailor their dream travel experience.
“Travelling at your own pace is a real plus point as you get a chance to see things you wouldn’t normally, such as wildlife,” he said.
“For example, there are seal colonies in the UK only reachable by boat from a safe distance.”
Alternatively, if boating sounds like a dream escape, but you haven’t quite found your sea legs, Borrow a Boat also has a selection of moored options.
“Most boats are moored in marinas or ports ready to sail, however, we do also have several houseboats that are permanently moored that can be hired for accommodation only,” said Mr Ovenden.
The concept of commandeering a private yacht, or being driven through England’s canal ways might sound like an expensive one, but according to Borrow a Boat’s CEO, the platform boasts plenty of well-priced options.
“Boat rental can start from as little as £40 a day,” said Mr Ovenden. “Remember that you can split rental costs between your travel group, so if there are four adults boating together, it can be as little as £250 each for a week’s sailing boat rental.
“That is very reasonable considering you can self-cater on board and the boat provides your overnight accommodation, plus you can see many attractions and take in the sights as you travel around.”
These kinds of savings are likely welcome news to British holidaymakers, particularly withs suggesting the cost of a week-long holiday in popular places such as Cornwall have soared well into the thousands.
“Avoiding peak season when demand is high, such as school summer holidays and half-terms, can also help bring costs down,” advised the boating expert.
Of course, Borrow a Boat also has a selection of ritzier options, with sailing yachts starting from £1,000 per week and fully skippered luxury superyachts starting from approximately £10,000 per week.
While amenities onboard vary depending on the type of vessel hired, Mr Ovenden points out that most offer more than enough space to allow for a comfortable stay.
“It really depends on the boat in question, but most yachts will have a saloon and kitchen, plus a number of cabin bedrooms and bathrooms, and a cockpit space to sit comfortably and watch the world go by,” he said.
“Some have self-contained cabins for overnight stays, but RIBs that are built for speed, for example, will have fewer amenities and work best for hourly rental.
“Borrow A Boat Plus lists a wide range of luxury boats, yachts, and superyachts whose amenities can include jacuzzis, champagne bars, dining rooms and water skis. Some even have a helipad.
“Choose your boat based on your preferences and factor in any overnight stay requirements.”
A boating holiday may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of a Great British staycation, but as the Borrow a Boat boss points out, it is a stay bound to keep everyone on board entertained.
“Boating is a great option for families because kids love being on the water, seeing new things and taking part in sailing,” he said.
“It’s something a bit different and exciting and is sure to keep all ages happy and entertained.
“There’s nothing quite like being on the water; there’s something profound about the freedom that boating offers – the chance to be exhilarated on a speedboat or enjoy a slower pace on a riverboat.”
You can plan your own boating holiday at https://www.borrowaboat.com/.
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